Nav: Home

Chronic constipation linked to increased risk of colorectal cancer

October 22, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (October 22, 2012) - Patients with chronic constipation may be at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer and benign neoplasms, according to study findings unveiled today at the American College of Gastroenterology's (ACG) 77th Annual Scientific meeting in Las Vegas.

The study, "Risk of Developing Colorectal Cancer and Benign Neoplasm in Patients with Chronic Constipation," investigated the prevalence and incidence of colorectal cancer and benign neoplasms in 28,854 patients with chronic constipation (CC) and 86,562 controls without CC that were identified from a large retrospective U.S. claims database (January 1999-September 2011). Patients with at least two diagnoses of constipation were required to be 18 years or older and continuously enrolled in their health plan for at least one year following the study index date, which was the patient's first eligible diagnosis of constipation. Patients with diagnoses of irritable bowel syndrome or diarrhea were excluded.

Researchers found that:
  • Both colorectal cancer (CRC) and benign neoplasms are more prevalent in chronic constipation patients compared to a control population free from chronic constipation.
  • Among the patients that were not previously diagnosed with CRC or benign neoplasms prior to their index date, and after controlling for potential confounding factors including age, gender, family history of malignancies, and other non-gastrointestinal comorbidities, patients with CC were more at risk to develop CRC or benign neoplasms.
  • The risk of developing CRC was 1.78 times higher for chronic constipation (CC) patients and the risk of developing benign neoplasms was 2.70 times higher. After adjusting for potential confounding factors, which are potentially also associated with the CC conditions, the incremental risk of developing CRC and benign neoplasms remained "consistently high."
"This study demonstrates an association, not causation, between chronic constipation and both colorectal cancer and benign neoplasms" said co-investigator Nicholas Talley, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Newcastle. "The postulated causal link between constipation and increased colorectal cancer risk is that longer transit times increase the duration of contact between the colonic mucosa and concentrated carcinogens in the lumen, such as bile acids or other carcinogens."

"The association between constipation and colorectal cancer deserves further exploration to better understand possible causal elements," said Dr. Talley. "Moreover, a review of the existing literature suggests prospective cohort studies have not identified this association. Thus, the findings may reflect recall bias."

"In this study, patients with chronic constipation were found to be at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer and benign neoplasms, said Dr. Talley. "Although chronic constipation is considered a relatively benign disease, practitioners should be aware of this potential association to monitor and treat accordingly," said Dr. Talley. "We encourage anyone with questions related to their condition to talk to their health care professional so that the specific health needs of each patient can be balanced with the risks and benefits of medications."

He also noted that further research is warranted to evaluate whether patients who have their constipation well controlled are at lower risk of developing CRC and benign neoplasms. "Longitudinal prospective studies to understand the causal relationship between chronic constipation and CRC would advance our understanding of prevention and management of these disorders."
-end-
About Chronic Constipation

Constipation, one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints in the United States, occurs when the colon absorbs too much water or if the colon's muscle contractions are slow or sluggish, causing the stool to move through the colon too slowly. As a result, stools can become hard and dry. More than 4 million Americans have frequent constipation, accounting for 2.5 million physician visits a year, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC).

Chronic constipation is a condition of infrequent bowel movements -- typically fewer than three bowel movements a week -- and difficult passage of stools which does not go away. In some cases, CC may be caused by an underlying medical condition.

About Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the US, according to the American Cancer Society. It is estimated that there will be 143,460 new cases diagnosed in the United States in 2012 and 51,690 deaths due to this disease. The American College of Gastroenterology's screening guidelines recommend colonoscopy as a "preferred" colorectal cancer prevention strategy beginning at age 50 (age 45 for African Americans.)

About the American College of Gastroenterology

Founded in 1932, the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) is an organization with an international membership of more than 12,000 individuals from 80 countries. The College is committed to serving the clinically oriented digestive disease specialist through its emphasis on scholarly practice, teaching and research. The mission of the College is to serve the evolving needs of physicians in the delivery of high quality, scientifically sound, humanistic, ethical, and cost-effective health care to gastroenterology patients. www.gi.org View releases on other research breaking at the ACG meeting at http://gi.org/media/press-releases-for-acg-annual-scientific-meeting/

Follow ACG on Twitter Tweet, Follow #ACG2012

American College of Gastroenterology

Related Colorectal Cancer Articles:

Researchers ID target for colorectal cancer immunotherapy
Researchers at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center have identified a target for colorectal cancer immunotherapy.
Colorectal cancer partner-in-crime identified
A protein that helps colorectal cancer cells spread to other parts of the body could be an effective treatment target.
Cancer cell reversion may offer a new approach to colorectal cancer treatment
A novel approach to reverse the progression of healthy cells to malignant ones may offer a more effective way to eradicate colorectal cancer cells with far fewer side effects, according to a KAIST research team based in South Korea.
A novel pathway to target colorectal cancer
Survival rates for patients with late-stage colorectal cancer are dismal, and new therapeutic strategies are needed to improve outcomes.
Colorectal cancer rates in Canada
The incidence of colorectal cancer among younger adults increased in recent years in this analysis of data from Canadian national cancer registries that included about 688,000 new colorectal cancers diagnosed over more than 40 years.
Cancer drugs promote stem cell properties of colorectal cancer
Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) and the Mannheim University Medical Center have now discovered that a certain group of cancer drugs (MEK Inhibitors) activates the cancer-promoting Wnt signalling pathway in colorectal cancer cells.
Aspirin before at-home colorectal cancer screening test didn't significantly improve ability to detect cancer precursors
Some observational studies have suggested that taking aspirin before undergoing colorectal cancer screening with a fecal immunochemical test for blood in stool might improve the ability of the test to detect cancer precursors.
Gene involved in colorectal cancer also causes breast cancer
Rare mutations in the NTHL1 gene, previously associated with colorectal cancer, also cause breast cancer and other types of cancer.
Bug that causes stomach cancer could play a role in colorectal cancer
A bacterium known for causing stomach cancer might also increase the risk of certain colorectal cancers, particularly among African Americans, according to a study led by Duke Cancer Institute researchers.
'Chromosomal catastrophes' in colorectal cancer
'Chromosomal catastrophes' have been found to occur along the evolutionary timeline of colorectal cancer development, according to new research led by Queen Mary University of London.
More Colorectal Cancer News and Colorectal Cancer Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Clint Smith
The killing of George Floyd by a police officer has sparked massive protests nationwide. This hour, writer and scholar Clint Smith reflects on this moment, through conversation, letters, and poetry.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Nina
Producer Tracie Hunte stumbled into a duet between Nina Simone and the sounds of protest outside her apartment. Then she discovered a performance by Nina on April 7, 1968 - three days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tracie talks about what Nina's music, born during another time when our country was facing questions that seemed to have no answer, meant then and why it still resonates today.  Listen to Nina's brother, Samuel Waymon, talk about that April 7th concert here.