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Role of Estrogen Supported in Colorectal Cancer Survival

Last Updated: September 30, 2009.

The finding that younger women with metastatic colorectal cancer survive longer than younger men -- which is not seen in older patients -- supports the idea that estrogen may play a role in improved outcomes in the disease, according to research published online Sept. 29 in Clinical Cancer Research.

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The finding that younger women with metastatic colorectal cancer (MCRC) survive longer than younger men -- which is not seen in older patients -- supports the idea that estrogen may play a role in improved outcomes in the disease, according to research published online Sept. 29 in Clinical Cancer Research.

Andrew Hendifar, M.D., of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues analyzed data from 52,882 patients diagnosed with MCRC between 1988 and 2004 in the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results database.

The researchers found that women ages 18 to 44 years lived longer than men of this age group (17 versus 14 months). However, women ages 55 years and older had worse overall survival than men of this age (seven versus nine months). Survival benefits in younger women appeared more substantial in recent years, suggesting a possible interaction between hormonal status and more recent treatment options, the authors write.

"As one of the largest data sets analyzed to establish that younger women with MCRC survive longer than younger men, hormonal status seems not only to play an important role in the development and pathogenesis of colorectal cancer but also to have prognostic significance. In colorectal cancer, estrogens have been shown to consistently improve clinical outcomes in women who take oral contraceptives or hormone replacement," the authors conclude.

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