Andreana N. Holowatyj, PhD, MS, Discusses Focal Questions Regarding Colorectal Cancer Disparities

Holowatyj touched on the need to learn more about the biological factors contributing to disparities in early-onset colorectal cancer and the associated burden of the disease.

Andreana N. Holowatyj, PhD, MS, of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, spoke with CancerNetwork about the focal questions from her research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2021 focusing on disparities in early-onset colorectal cancer.


We sought to tackle the loaded question to understand what biological factors may be contributing to disparities in the early-onset colorectal cancer burden. To put things into perspective, overall about 1 in every 10 colorectal cancer cases is diagnosed prior to age 50. There’s been a challenge to date in accruing sufficient cases or data to be able to explore this timely and important research question as to differences within the population of early-onset colorectal cancer, particularly the molecular features. It was a really unique opportunity to leverage the resource of the AACR Project GENIE [Genomic Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange] consortium that included both clinical-grade targeted sequencing data, and clinical demographic data on cases with a pathologically confirmed colorectal cancer diagnosis from 12 institutions worldwide, which was [a] prime opportunity to answer this research question with over 6000 colorectal cancer cases included in our study.


Holowatyj AN, Wen W, Gibbs T, et al. Advancing Cancer Research Through An International Cancer Registry: AACR Project GENIE Use Cases. Presented at: AACR Annual Meeting 2021. Virtual. Abstract 101.