Early-onset colorectal cancer in young individuals

Gianluca Mauri, Andrea Sartore-Bianchi, Antonio-Giampiero Russo, Silvia Marsoni, Alberto Bardelli, Salvatore Siena

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Treatment of young adults with colorectal cancer (CRC) represents an unmet clinical need, especially as diagnosis in this population might lead to the greatest loss of years of life. Since 1994, CRC incidence in individuals younger than 50 years has been increasing by 2% per year. The surge in CRC incidence in young adults is particularly alarming as the overall CRC frequency has been decreasing. Early-onset CRC are characterized by a more advanced stage at diagnosis, poorer cell differentiation, higher prevalence of signet ring cell histology, and left colon-sided location of the primary tumor. Among EO-CRC, approximately 30% of patients are affected by tumors harboring mutations causing hereditary cancer predisposing syndromes, and 20% have familial CRC. Most notably, the remaining 50% of EO-CRC patients have neither hereditary syndromes nor familial CRC, thus representing a formidable challenge for research. In this review article we summarize epidemiology, clinical and molecular features, heredity and outcome of treatments of EO-CRC, and provide considerations for future perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-131
Number of pages23
JournalMolecular Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Age of Onset
  • Colorectal Neoplasms/epidemiology
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Geography
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mutation/genetics
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • SEER Program
  • Young Adult


Dive into the research topics of 'Early-onset colorectal cancer in young individuals'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this