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Medical College Pakistan


Introduction: Colorectal carcinoma (CRC) is one of the most common cancers that involve the human body. Young-onset CRC (YO-CRC) or early-onset CRC (EO-CRC) is defined as CRC that develops before the age of 50 years, as opposed to CRC that is diagnosed after the age of 50, referred to as late-onset CRC (LO-CRC). EO-CRC is sparsely studied in our population. Therefore, in this study, we evaluated the clinicopathological parameters and biomarker profile of EO-CRC and compared them with those of LO-CRC.
Methods: This was a retrospective study conducted at the Department of Histopathology, Liaquat National Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan. A total of 254 biopsy-proven cases of CRC, reported over a period of nine years, were enrolled in the study. The specimens collected during surgery were sent to the laboratory for histopathological and immunohistochemical (IHC) status examinations. IHC staining of the specimens was performed using antibodies, namely, MutL protein homolog 1 (MLH1), postmeiotic segregation increased 2 (PMS2), MutS homolog 2 (MSH2), MutS homolog 6 (MSH6), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2/neu), on representative tissue blocks. A comparison of morphological and biomarker profiles between EO-CRC and LO-CRC was performed.
Results: The mean age at diagnosis was 46.27±17.75 years, with female predominance (59.8%). A significant difference between the two groups (EO-CRC and LO-CRC) was noted with respect to laterality, tumor site, tumor grade, tumor type, presence of pre-existing polyps, perineural invasion (PNI), lymphovascular invasion (LVI), and IHC markers. EO-CRC (as opposed to LO-CRC) significantly affected the left colon (92.6% vs. 72.9%, p
Conclusions: We found a relatively higher frequency of EO-CRC in our population. Moreover, compared with LO-CRCs, EO-CRCs were associated with prognostically poor histological parameters, such as mucinous and medullary carcinoma, high-grade, PNI, and LVI. Similarly, EO-CRC had a higher positive expression of HER2/neu with intact MSI markers compared with AO-CRC; all these characteristics indicate poor biological behavior in EO-CRC.


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