Colon Cancer: A Clinician’s Perspective in 2019

Monjur Ahmed

Abstract


Colon cancer is a common preventable cancer. With the adoption of widespread colon cancer screening in the developed countries, the incidence and mortality of colon cancer have decreased in the targeted population. But unfortunately, the incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer (CRC) have been increasing over the last 25 years in the young adults below the age of 50. There is disparity in benefit, i.e. reduction in risk of death between right-sided and left-sided colon cancer by screening colonoscopy. The reason could be multifactorial and various measures have been taken to decrease this disparity. Although most of the screened populations are average risk individuals, a minority of the population have various risk factors for developing colon cancer and need to follow specific colon cancer screening guidelines. Gene mutations (adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), deleted in colon cancer (DCC), K-ras, p53, B-Raf proto-oncogene serine/threonine kinase (BRAF), mismatch repair genes) and microsatellite instability lead to the development of colon cancer. Although various non-invasive methods of colon cancer screening are now available, colonoscopy remains the gold standard of colon cancer screening and adenoma detection rate is now being used as the quality metrics in screening colonoscopy. Although Multi-Society Task Force (MSTF) and American College of Physicians (ACP) recommend initiating screening colonoscopy at age 50 years in all individuals except African Americans who should begin screening colonoscopy at age 45 years, the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends initiating screening colonoscopy at age 45 years in all individuals irrespective of race and ethnicity. Low-volume split-dose prep has been found to be as effective as high-volume split-dose prep and more tolerable to patients with increased compliance. Boston bowel preparation scale is recommended to measure the quality of colon cleansing. CRC is curative if it is diagnosed at an early stage but various palliative treatment options (endoscopic, oncologic and surgical) are available in advanced stages of this cancer. Adequate number of lymph node assessment during surgery is essential in accurate staging of CRC. Checkpoint inhibitors have been found to have dramatic response and durable clinical benefit in dMMR/MSI-H metastatic CRC. Different genetic and immune-oncologic research trials are ongoing for early detection and better management of CRC.




Gastroenterol Res. 2020;13(1):1-10
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/gr1239

Keywords


Colon cancer; Colorectal cancer; Screening for colorectal cancer; Management of colorectal cancer; Colon cancer in young adults

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