Family history and colorectal cancer survival in women

Fam Cancer. 2008;7(4):287-92. doi: 10.1007/s10689-008-9190-z. Epub 2008 Mar 24.


Purpose: Family history of colorectal cancer may be a phenotype for numerous genetic mutations which increase colorectal cancer risk and may affect survival after diagnosis. We examined the relationship between self-reported first-degree family history of colorectal cancer and survival.

Methods: We identified female Wisconsin residents ages 20-74 with a new diagnosis of invasive colorectal cancer from two population-based case-control studies; 1,469 women were interviewed. Follow-up averaged 7.9 years. We performed multivariable Cox proportional hazards regressions to calculate adjusted hazard rate ratios [HR] and corresponding 95% confidence intervals [95% CI] for risk of death by family history.

Results: Of 1,391 cases with available first-degree family history, 481 were deceased, 268 due to colorectal cancer. In multivariable analyses, cases with any family history (N=262) had a statistically non-significant lower risk of death (HR 0.86, 95% CI 0.62, 1.20) compared to no family history (N=1,129). Cases with two or more affected family members (N=46) showed significantly lower risk of death when compared to women with no family history (HR 0.34, 95% CI 0.13, 0.92).

Conclusions: Although individuals with a colorectal cancer family history are diagnosed with the disease more often than the general population, these data suggest that survival from colorectal cancer may not be worse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Assessment
  • Young Adult