Colorectal cancer: presentation and outcome in British South Asians

Colorectal Dis. 2009 Sep;11(7):745-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1318.2008.01675.x.


Aim: Colorectal cancer (CRC) has a lower incidence in patients of South Asian origin compared with British Caucasians. There are however little data available regarding the demographics of these patients, their presentation and outcome. Leicester has a high South Asian immigrant population, and we aim to define any potential differences in presentation, pathogenesis and outcome between our Caucasian and South Asian ethnic groups.

Method: All patients of South Asian origin were identified from the Leicester CRC database between June 1998 and April 2007. Data were analysed regarding the patients' demographics, the presentation and treatment details, tumour characteristics and clinical outcome. Data were compared with Caucasian patients from the same database. Patients from an ethnic background other than South Asia or Caucasians were excluded from analysis.

Results: 3435 patients were included in the analysis, of which 134 (3.9%) were of South Asian ethnicity. 61.9% of South Asian patients were male compared with 56% of Caucasians. South Asians were significantly younger at presentation (61.4 vs 70.6 years, P < 0.001). South Asian patients had significantly more rectal tumours than their Caucasian counterparts (P = 0.002). South Asian patients were more likely to require initial oncological therapy, and were less likely to have resectional surgery than Caucasians (P = 0.006). Of the patients undergoing resectional surgery, the ASA grade, mode of surgery, tumour characteristics and Dukes' stage were similar. There was no difference in 5-year survival between the South Asian and Caucasian patients.

Conclusion: Patients of South Asian ethnicity are younger at their age of presentation and have a higher proportion of rectal tumours compared with British Caucasian patients. They are more likely to require initial oncological treatment and are less likely to undergo resectional surgery, therefore suggesting more advanced disease at presentation. Overall 5-year survival is the similar.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Asians*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Rectal Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Rectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Whites*