Familial Cancer

, 8:555 | Cite as

The correlation between a family history of colorectal cancer and survival of patients with colorectal cancer

  • Helgi Birgisson
  • Arezo Ghanipour
  • Kennet Smedh
  • Lars Påhlman
  • Bengt Glimelius


The purpose was to analyze survival of patients with colorectal cancer and a positive family history for colorectal cancer in first degree relatives compared with those with no such family history and to determine whether differences in survival could be explained by known clinico-pathological factors. During 2000–2003, 318 consecutive patients with colorectal cancer answered a written questionnaire about their family history for colorectal cancer. During a 6-year follow-up, recurrences and survival were registered. Thirty-one (10%) patients had a first-degree relative with colorectal cancer, moreover two patients fulfilled the criteria of hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer and were excluded. Patients with a first-degree relative with colorectal cancer had better survival and lower risk for recurrences compared to those with no relatives with colorectal cancer. In a multivariate analysis including age, gender, stage of disease, tumor differentiation, vascular invasion and family history, patients with first-degree relatives with colorectal cancer had lower risks for death (RR 0.37; 95% CI 0.17–0.78) and death from cancer (RR 0.25; 95% CI 0.08–0.80), compared to those with a no relative with colorectal cancer. The differences were seen in patients with colon cancer but not rectal cancer. Family history for colorectal cancer in a first-degree relative is an individual prognostic factor in patients with colon cancer and could not be explained by known clinico-pathological factors. The value of family history taking in patients with colon cancer is therefore not only to identify families with hereditary colorectal cancer, but also to add information to the prognosis of the patients.


Cancer Family history Heredity Colorectal Survival 



Eva Strand, research nurse and the surgeons at the Colorectal unit, Central hospital, Västerås, for obtaining family histories. This study was funded by: The research fund of the county of Västmanland against cancer and the Swedish Cancer Society, project number 1921-B07-25XCC.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helgi Birgisson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  • Arezo Ghanipour
    • 2
  • Kennet Smedh
    • 1
    • 3
  • Lars Påhlman
    • 2
  • Bengt Glimelius
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Centre for Clinical ResearchUppsala University, Central HospitalVästeråsSweden
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryUniversity of UppsalaUppsalaSweden
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryCentral HospitalVästeråsSweden
  4. 4.Department of Oncology, Radiology and Clinical ImmunologyUniversity of UppsalaUppsalaSweden
  5. 5.Department of Oncology and PathologyKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  6. 6.Department of SurgeryUniversity HospitalUppsalaSweden

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