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People with advanced colon cancer who have smoked cigarettes or used
other tobacco products for many years may have an increased risk that
their colon cancer will return, according to research by Dana-Farber
Cancer Institute scientists to be presented at the annual meeting of the
American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), May 30 – June 3, in
Based on data from 965 patients treated for stage III colon cancer,
investigators found the chances of recurrence or death up to 22 percent
higher in patients with a 20 or more pack year history (calculated by
number of years smoking times packs per day) than in those who had never
smoked. Smoking history prior to age 30 was particularly harmful for
subjects that developed colon cancer years later. Patients who smoked 12
pack years or more before age 30 and developed colon cancer later in
life had a statistically significant 37 percent increase in recurrence
or death compared to nonsmokers.
The data (abstract 4039) will be presented during a poster session on
Monday, June 2, 8 a.m.– 12 p.m. CT, South Building, Hall A1.
"After controlling for other factors that may influence the risk of
colon cancer recurrence or death, this study highlights further risk of
cancer recurrence in individuals who have a higher lifetime total use of
cigarettes than never smokers," said lead author Nadine Jackson, MD, MPH, of Dana-Farber.
Although tobacco use can increase people's initial risk of colon
cancer, little is known about the short- or long-term effects of such
use on disease recurrence. The current study is part of an effort to
explore that issue.
Participants in the study reported their tobacco use on
questionnaires filled out during and six months after their treatment.
Forty-five percent were identified as past smokers, 9 percent as current
smokers, and 46 percent as never smokers.
The study's co-authors are Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH, Charles
Fuchs, MD, MPH, and Robert Mayer, MD, of Dana-Farber, Boston; Donna
Niedzwiecki, PhD, and Donna Hollis, PhD, of the Cancer and Leukemia
Group B, Durham, N.C.; and Leonard Saltz, MD, of Memorial
Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (www.dana-farber.org)
is a principal teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School and is
among the leading cancer research and care centers in the United States.
It is a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center
(DF/HCC), designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National