KRAS Sequence Variation as Prognostic Marker in Patients with Young- vs Late-Onset Colorectal Cancer

Mayada A. Aljehani, Jeffrey Bien, Jerry S.H. Lee, George A. Fisher, Albert Y. Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Importance: The understanding of the association between KRAS sequence variation status and clinical outcomes in colorectal cancer (CRC) has evolved over time. Objective: To characterize the association of age at onset, tumor sidedness, and KRAS sequence variation with survival among patients diagnosed with CRC. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cross-sectional study used data extracted from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database. Patients diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the colon or rectum from 2010 through 2015 were included and were classified as having young-onset (YO) cancer if diagnosed between ages 20 to 49 years and late-onset (LO) cancer if diagnosed at age 50 years or older. Data were analyzed from April 2021 through August 2023. Main Outcomes and Measures: CRC cause-specific survival (CSS) was summarized using Fine and Gray cumulative incidence and Kaplan-Meier curves. Estimation of subdistribution hazard ratios (sHRs) for the association of KRAS status, age at onset, and tumor location with CRC CSS was conducted using the Fine and Gray competing risk model. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate and compare HRs. Results: Among 21661 patients with KRAS sequence variation status (mean [SD] age at diagnosis, 62.50 [13.78] years; 9784 females [45.2%]), 3842 patients had YO CRC, including 1546 patients with KRAS variants, and 17819 patients had LO CRC, including 7311 patients with KRAS variants. There was a significant difference in median CSS time between patients with variant vs wild-type KRAS (YO: 3.0 years [95% CI, 2.8-3.3 years] vs 3.5 years [95% CI, 3.3-3.9 years]; P =.02; LO: 2.5 years [95% CI, 2.4-2.7 years] vs 3.4 years [95% CI, 3.3-3.6 years]; P <.001). Tumors with variant compared with wild-type KRAS were associated with higher risk of CRC-related death (YO: sHR, 1.09 [95% CI, 1.01-1.18]; P =.03; LO: sHR, 1.06 [95% CI, 1.02-1.09]; P =.002). Among patients with YO cancer, mortality hazards increased by location, from right (sHR, 1.02 [95% CI, 0.88-1.17) to left (sHR, 1.15 [95% CI, 1.02-1.29) and rectum (sHR, 1.16 [95% CI, 0.99-1.36), but no trend by tumor location was seen for LO cancer. Conclusions and Relevance: In this study of patients diagnosed with CRC, KRAS sequence variation was associated with increased mortality among patients with YO and LO tumors. In YO cancer, variant KRAS-associated mortality risk was higher in distal tumors than proximal tumors..

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E2345801
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number11
StatePublished - 30 Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes


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