By the Numbers
By the Numbers
September 21, 2019
3 min read

7 recent highlights in gastrointestinal cancer

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

Recently published studies have demonstrated new developments in gastrointestinal cancer.

In case you missed it, the editors of Healio Gastroenterology and Liver Disease have compiled a recap of some of our most recent popular articles involving gastrointestinal cancer, including a text messaging system that has improved colonoscopy adherence, as well as colorectal cancer incidence increasing in younger adults.

Despite increases in CRC screening, racial disparities persist

Health policy changes and a concerted, national effort have led to an overall increase in rates of colorectal cancer screening in the last decade. However, racial and ethnic disparities have persisted, according to study results.

“While an overall improvement in screening rates should be acknowledged, our findings demonstrate that not all racial/ethnic groups benefited equally over time,” Folasade (Fola) P. May, MD, PhD, of the Tamar and Vatche Manoukin Division of Digestive Diseases at UCLA, and colleagues wrote. “Further, there are some groups, namely blacks and [American Indian or Alaska Natives], where improvements in screening disparities have stalled.” READ MORE.

‘We should be unsettled’: Colorectal cancer incidence rising among young adults

Researchers from the American Cancer Society have found increasing incidence of colorectal cancer among young adults in nine high-income countries where population-based screening initiatives have led to stabilized or decreasing trends among older adults, according to study results published in Gut.

“These patterns potentially signal changes in early-age exposures conducive to large bowel carcinogenesis and highlight an urgent need for research to explore the potentially unique etiology of young-onset CRC,” Rebecca Siegel, MPH, of the intramural research department at the American Cancer Society and lead author said in a press release. “Although the absolute risk of CRC in adults younger than 50 years is low relative to older adults, disease trends in young age groups are a key indicator of recent changes in risk factor exposures and often foreshadow the future cancer burden.” READ MORE.

NAFLD regardless of obesity marks increased risk for liver, GI cancers

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease correlated with an approximately 90% higher risk for liver and gastrointestinal cancers compared with patients without fatty liver disease, while the association between obesity without fatty liver disease and cancer was small.

“The prevalence of obesity has more than doubled in the last four decades and as a result, the incidence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has increased substantially,” Alina M. Allen, MD, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues wrote. “These unique epidemiologic observations reframe our understanding of the association between obesity and cancer risk. There is a continued need for better characterization of excess adiposity, because current measures of obesity, such as BMI, are insufficient and may overlook other potential key contributors to outcomes, based on ectopic fat distribution.” READ MORE.

Q&A: Text message system improves colonoscopy adherence

Despite all the dangers involved with colorectal cancer, many people do not keep up to date with recommended colonoscopy screening. About one-third of individuals are behind. With so many barriers and difficulties in place, researchers are left to find ways to make getting patients to colonoscopy easier.

Nadim Mahmud, MD, a hepatology fellow at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues decided to put a text messaging system to the test. For a study published in Health Education & Behavior, they recruited 21 patients scheduled for outpatient colonoscopy to participate in the text message program and compared colonoscopy adherence to 50 control individuals who received usual care. READ MORE.

Several significant cholangiocarcinoma risk factors identified

Results from a systematic review and meta-analysis revealed 13 risk factors for intrahepatic and extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, the most significant of which included biliary cysts and stones, cirrhosis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

Additionally, although diabetes was not among the strongest risk factors, increasing global rates of diabetes may be contributing to rising rates of cholangiocarcinoma (CCA). READ MORE.

Prediction models determine long-term outcomes after liver resection

A set of three prediction models for patients who required liver resection for hepatocellular carcinoma with Child-Pugh B cirrhosis estimated postoperative surgical risks and long-term survival rates.

“When [liver transplantation] is not an option as primary treatment, the appeal to non-curative treatments should be pondered with the figures of survival,” Giammauro Berardi, MD, from Ghent University and Federico II University in Italy, and colleagues wrote. “In either scenario, liver resection represents a valid choice that could be safely considered in the appropriate setting. Accurate patients’ selection according to preoperative baseline characteristics, tumor burden and liver functional tests, as well as minimization of the surgical stress, could lead to improvements in postoperative morbidity achieving safe oncological outcomes.” READ MORE.

H. pylori treatment, vitamins, garlic reduce gastric cancer mortality

Over the course of 22 years of follow-up, treatment for Helicobacter pylori infection, as well as vitamin and garlic supplementation, reduced the risk for death due to gastric cancer.

Kai-Feng Pan, MD, PhD, of the department of cancer epidemiology at Peking University Cancer Hospital and Institute, and colleagues wrote that previous research has shown the benefit of all three treatments, but little is known about their long-term impact. READ MORE.