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Increased incidence of early onset colorectal adenocarcinoma is accompanied by an increased incidence of rectal neuroendocrine tumors.


Recent studies have reported an increasing incidence of early onset colorectal cancer (CRC). Few studies compared the changing incidence of CRC by the major histological type, adenocarcinoma and neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). Using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER), we identified CRC from 1992 to 2015 with site and histological codes. Standardized incidence rates of CRC by anatomical locations (proximal, distal and rectal colon) and histological types (adenocarcinoma, NETs and others) were calculated over calendar years. Annual percent changes (APC) and joint-point regression were further computed. A significant increase of cancers in the distal colon and rectum was observed in young populations (20-44 and 45-54 years) but not in the proximal colon. Further analyses found that the highest rise of rectal NETs was in the 45-54 years which contributed 53.47% to the total increase of rectal cancer. The APCs for NETs in the rectum were 2.9 (95% CI: -0.1, 6.0) and 6.1 (95% CI: 3.8-8.4) for 20-44 years or 45-54 years respectively. The increase of NETs in the rectum was still significant in the older than 55 years (APC=3.7, 95% CI: 2.8-4.7), although the total CRC in this group was decreasing. Incidence of NETs in the distal colon is not apparently changing. The increase of CRC incidence among young populations (age < 55) is mainly due to the increased incidence in the rectum and distal colon. Moreover, the increase of early onset cancer in the rectum could be ascribed to increased incidence of adenocarcinoma and NETs.

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