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. 2017 May 18;17(1):339.
doi: 10.1186/s12885-017-3336-z.

Survival Rates and Predictors of Survival Among Colorectal Cancer Patients in a Malaysian Tertiary Hospital

Free PMC article

Survival Rates and Predictors of Survival Among Colorectal Cancer Patients in a Malaysian Tertiary Hospital

Bello Arkilla Magaji et al. BMC Cancer. .
Free PMC article


Background: Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed malignancy and the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death globally. It is the second most common cancer among both males and females in Malaysia. The economic burden of colorectal cancer is likely to increase over time owing to its current trend and aging population. Cancer survival analysis is an essential indicator for early detection and improvement in cancer treatment. However, there was a scarcity of studies concerning survival of colorectal cancer patients as well as its predictors. Therefore, we aimed to determine the 1-, 3- and 5-year survival rates, compare survival rates among ethnic groups and determine the predictors of survival among colorectal cancer patients.

Methods: This was an ambidirectional cohort study conducted at the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. All Malaysian citizens or permanent residents with histologically confirmed diagnosis of colorectal cancer seen at UMMC from 1 January 2001 to 31 December 2010 were included in the study. Demographic and clinical characteristics were extracted from the medical records. Patients were followed-up until death or censored at the end of the study (31st December 2010). Censored patients' vital status (whether alive or dead) were cross checked with the National Registration Department. Survival analyses at 1-, 3- and 5-year intervals were performed using the Kaplan-Meier method. Log-rank test was used to compare the survival rates, while Cox proportional hazard regression analysis was carried out to determine the predictors of 5-year colorectal cancer survival.

Results: Among 1212 patients, the median survival for colorectal, colon and rectal cancers were 42.0, 42.0 and 41.0 months respectively; while the 1-, 3-, and 5-year relative survival rates ranged from 73.8 to 76.0%, 52.1 to 53.7% and 40.4 to 45.4% respectively. The Chinese patients had the lowest 5-year survival compared to Malay and Indian patients. Based on the 814 patients with data on their Duke's staging, independent predictors of poor colorectal cancer (5-year) survival were male sex (Hazard Ratio [HR]: 1.41; 95% CI: 1.12, 1.76), Chinese ethnicity (HR: 1.41; 95% CI: 1.07,1.85), elevated (≥ 5.1 ng/ml) pre-operative carcino-embryonic antigen (CEA) level (HR: 2.13; 95% CI: 1.60, 2.83), Duke's stage C (HR: 1.68; 95% CI: 1.28, 2.21), Duke's stage D (HR: 4.61; 95% CI: 3.39, 6.28) and emergency surgery (HR: 1.52; 95% CI: 1.07, 2.15).

Conclusions: The survival rates of colorectal cancer among our patients were comparable with those of some Asian countries but lower than those found in more developed countries. Males and patients from the Chinese ethnic group had lower survival rates compared to their counterparts. More advanced staging and late presentation were important predictors of colorectal cancer survival. Health education programs targeting high risk groups and emphasizing the importance of screening and early diagnosis, as well as the recognition of symptoms and risk factors should be implemented. A nationwide colorectal cancer screening program should be designed and implemented to increase early detection and improve survival outcomes.

Keywords: Colorectal cancer; Ethnic disparities; Malaysia; Survival rates.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Survival curves of colorectal cancer by Duke’s staging

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