Overall and stage-specific survival of patients with screen-detected colorectal cancer in European countries: A population-based study in 9 countries

Rafael Cardoso, Feng Guo, Thomas Heisser, Harlinde De Schutter, Nancy Van Damme, Mef Christina Nilbert, Jane Christensen, Anne-Marie Bouvier, Véronique Bouvier, Guy Launoy, Anne-Sophie Woronoff, Mélanie Cariou, Michel Robaszkiewicz, Patricia Delafosse, Florence Poncet, Paul M Walsh, Carlo Senore, Stefano Rosso, Valery E P P Lemmens, Marloes A G ElferinkSonja Tomšič, Tina Žagar, Arantza Lopez de Munain Marques, Rafael Marcos-Gragera, Montse Puigdemont, Jaume Galceran, Marià Carulla, Antonia Sánchez-Gil, María-Dolores Chirlaque, Michael Hoffmeister, Hermann Brenner


Background: An increasing proportion of colorectal cancers (CRCs) are detected through screening due to the availability of organised population-based programmes. We aimed to analyse survival probabilities of patients with screen-detected CRC in European countries.

Methods: Data from CRC patients were obtained from 16 population-based cancer registries in nine European countries. We included patients with cancer diagnosed from the year organised CRC screening programmes were introduced until the most recent year with available data at the time of analysis, whose ages at diagnosis fell into the age groups targeted by screening. Patients were followed up with regards to vital status until 2016-2020 across the various countries. Overall and CRC-specific survival were analysed by mode of detection and stage at diagnosis for all countries combined and for each country separately using the Kaplan-Meier method.

Findings: We included data from 228 134 patients, of whom 134 597 (aged 60-69 years at diagnosis targeted by screening in all countries) were considered in analyses for all countries combined. 22·3% (38 080/134 597) of patients had cancer detected through screening. Most screen-detected cancers were found at stages I-II (65·6% [12 772/19 469 included in stage-specific analyses]), while the majority of non-screen-detected cancers were found at stages III-IV (56·4% [31 882/56 543 included in stage-specific analyses]). Five-year overall and CRC-specific survival rates for patients with screen-detected cancer were 83·4% (95% CI 82·9-83·9) and 89·2% (88·8-89·7), respectively; for patients with non-screen-detected cancer, they were much lower (57·5% [57·2-57·8] and 65·7% [65·4-66·1], respectively). The favourable survival of patients with screen-detected cancer was also seen within each stage - five-year overall survival rates for patients with screen-detected stage I, II, III, and IV cancers were 92.4% (95% CI 91·6-93·1), 87·9% (86·6-89·1), 80·7% (79·3-82·0), and 32·3 (29·4-35·2), respectively. These patterns were also consistently seen for each individual country.

Interpretation: Patients with cancer diagnosed at screening have a very favourable prognosis. In the rare case of detection of advanced stage cancer, survival probabilities are still much higher than those commonly reported for all patients regardless of mode of detection. Although these results cannot be taken to quantify screening effects, they provide useful and encouraging information for patients with screen-detected CRC and their physicians.

Funding: This study was supported in part by grants from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German Cancer Aid.

TidsskriftThe Lancet regional health. Europe
Sider (fra-til)1-11
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2022


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