Digestive Disease Week
Digestive Disease Week
Perspective from Carol Burke, MD
June 14, 2018
1 min read

Obesity increases risk for young-onset colorectal cancer in women

Perspective from Carol Burke, MD
You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact customerservice@slackinc.com.

WASHINGTON — Researchers found that obesity and weight gain from adolescence correlated with an increased risk for young-onset colorectal cancer among women, according to a presentation at Digestive Disease Week 2018.

Po-Hong Liu, MD, MPH, from the clinical and translational epidemiology unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, noted in his presentation that while the incidence and mortality rates of colorectal cancer have been decreasing among both men and women aged 50 years and older, data has revealed a recent increase in colorectal cancer incidence and mortality among men and women aged 20 years to 49 years.

“Obesity can contribute to chronic inflammation as well as metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and modifications of gut microbiota,” Liu said during his presentation. “Due to the parallel increase in obesity and young-onset and colorectal cancer, understanding the role of obesity in colorectal cancer may help us understand this epidemiology.”

Liu and colleagues conducted a prospective study of 85,256 women to examine the correlation between risk for young-onset CRC and the change in obesity and weight from age 18 years to baseline. During 22 years of follow-up, the researchers observed 121 incident cases of young-onset CRC in those aged younger than 50 years.

Young-onset CRC occurred significantly more often among women with BMI 30 kg/m2 or higher (HR = 1.92; 95% CI, 1.08-3.44), compared with women with BMI between 18.5 kg/m2 and 22.9 kg/m2.

Additionally, weight gain from adolescence correlated with an increased risk for young-onset CRC, especially among those who gained at least 40 kg between age 18 years and study baseline (HR = 1.96; 95% CI, 0.92-4.19).

“Obesity may play a substantial role in early-onset colorectal cancer carcinogenesis and may contribute to the age-specific difference in colorectal cancer trends,” Liu concluded. “Future studies could determine the role of body weight in screening strategies.” – by Talitha Bennett


Liu PH, et al. Abstract 283. Presented at: Digestive Disease Week; June 2-5, 2018; Washington, D.C.

Disclosure: Liu reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the DDW faculty disclosure index for a list of all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.