Histologic and Racial/Ethnic Patterns of Appendiceal Cancer among Young Patients

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2021 Jun;30(6):1149-1155. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1505. Epub 2021 Apr 1.


Background: Appendiceal cancer incidence among individuals age < 50 years (early-onset appendiceal cancer) is rising with unknown etiologies. Distinct clinicopathologic/demographic features of early-onset appendiceal cancer remain unexplored. We compared patterns of appendiceal cancer among individuals by age of disease-onset.

Methods: Using the NIH/NCI's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program data, we identified individuals age 20+ years diagnosed with appendiceal cancer from 2007 to 2016. Cochran-Armitage trend tests and multinomial logistic regression models were used to examine age-related differences in clinicopathologic/demographic features of appendiceal cancer.

Results: We identified 8,851 patients with appendiceal cancer during the 10-year study period. Histologic subtype, tumor grade, stage, sex and race/ethnicity all significantly differed by age of appendiceal cancer diagnosis. After adjustment for race/ethnicity, sex, stage, insurance status, and tumor grade, young patients were 82% more likely to be Hispanic [OR, 1.82; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.48-2.25; P < 0.001] and 4-fold more likely to be American Indian or Alaska Native (OR, 4.02; 95% CI, 1.77-9.16; P = 0.0009) compared with late-onset cases. Patients with early-onset appendiceal cancer were also 2- to 3.5-fold more likely to be diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumors of the appendix (goblet cell carcinoid: OR, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.59-2.41; P < 0.0001; carcinoid: OR, 3.52; 95% CI, 2.80-4.42; P < 0.0001) compared with patients with late-onset appendiceal cancer. Among patients with neuroendocrine tumors, early-onset cases were also 45% to 61% less likely to present with high-grade (III-IV) tumors.

Conclusions: Approximately one in every three patients with appendiceal cancer is diagnosed before age 50 years in the United States. Appendiceal cancer in young patients is classified by distinct histologic and demographic features.

Impact: Early-onset appendiceal cancer determinants can inform discovery of risk factors and molecular biomarkers of appendiceal cancer in young patients, with implications for appendiceal cancer prevention, detection, and treatment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • American Indians or Alaska Natives / statistics & numerical data
  • Appendiceal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Appendiceal Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Appendiceal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Appendix / pathology*
  • Blacks / statistics & numerical data
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / diagnosis
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / ethnology*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / pathology
  • SEER Program / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Whites / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult