Anemia in patients with colorectal cancer

J Gastroenterol. 1998 Aug;33(4):488-94. doi: 10.1007/s005350050120.


Although anemia is one of the signs of colorectal cancer, the relationships between histological findings and hematological findings other than hemoglobin level have not been adequately investigated. We investigated the relationship between hematological findings, serum iron, and histological findings in 358 patients (207 men and 157 women) with colorectal cancer. Their mean (+/-SD) ages were 64.3 +/- 12.4 and 63.8 +/- 13.3 years. A hemoglobin level of less than 10 g/dl was the criterion for anemia, and 20.8% of the men and 25.8% of the women met this criterion. Univariate analysis showed that carcinoma of the cecum, ascending colon, and transverse colon; large-size carcinoma, invasion beyond the proper muscle layer; positive lymph node metastasis: and clinical stage (Dukes' B, C, and D) were factors associated with high incidence of anemia. Histological type did not affect the hematological findings. Multivariate analysis showed that age, tumor site, and tumor size were significant factors related to anemia. Depth of invasion, the presence or absence of lymph node metastasis, and Dukes' classification were not significant factors. In the presence of these factors, mean corpuscular volume and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration values were low, and red blood cells were microcytic and hypochromic. The incidence of a low serum iron level was about twice the frequency of a hemoglobin level of less than 10 g/dl. The results of the multivariate analysis showed that none of the factors were significantly related to iron deficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / blood
  • Adenocarcinoma / complications*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Anemia / etiology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / blood
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / complications*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Iron / blood
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Sex Factors


  • Hemoglobins
  • Iron