Andreana N. Holowatyj, PhD, MS, on Rising Rates of Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer Worldwide

The lead author spoke about the rising incidence of early-onset colorectal cancer, which was the focal point of her research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2021.

Andreana N. Holowatyj, PhD, MS, of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, spoke with CancerNetwork® about the increasing incidence f early-onset colorectal cancer, defined as disease in adult patients under the age of 50. Early-onset colorectal cancer and differences in molecular features of this disease were examined as they related to different racial/ethnic groups.


Recently, much attention has been drawn to the striking observation that rates of colorectal cancer among adults younger than age 50, what we call early-onset colorectal cancer, have been rising over the last several decades, both in the United States and in countries worldwide, with causes largely unexplained. We and others have shown that early-onset colorectal cancer harbors a distinct clinical and molecular phenotype compared with late-onset disease. However, there’s striking variation in the burden of early-onset colorectal cancer across population subgroups, where some groups have a disproportionate burden of disease. However, understanding as to the factors driving this disproportionate disease burden remains quite limited.


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.