Surgical pathology of colorectal cancer in Filipinos: Implications for clinical practice

Leoncio L. Kaw, Corazon K. Punzalan, Armando C. Crisostomo, Mark W. Bowyer, David C. Wherry*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: A number of studies published in the Philippine literature have demonstrated certain peculiar clinicopathologic characteristics of colorectal cancer among Filipinos. This study presents the latest data and analyzes their implications for clinical practice. STUDY DESIGN: The pathology reports of all patients who underwent operation for colorectal cancer at the Philippine General Hospital over a period of 7 years were reviewed. RESULTS: One thousand two hundred seventy-seven patients were included. The male to female ratio was almost 1:1. The majority of patients were in the sixth and seventh decades of life, with a mean age of 55.3 years. Patients 40 years of age and younger made up 17% of the total. The site of cancer in order of frequency was rectum (49.8%), left colon (27.9%), and right colon (21.4%). Cancers of the right colon were more common in women, and rectal cancers were more frequent in men. Seventy-six percent of the tumors were well to moderately differentiated adenocarcinomas, and 6.7% were poorly differentiated. Mucinous and signet ring carcinomas were found in 11% and 1% of cases, respectively. Forty-four percent of patients had localized disease at the time of operation, 54% had regional disease, and 2% had disseminated disease. Associated predisposing conditions noted were polyps (4.7%), schistosomiasis (3%), and tuberculosis (1.5%). CONCLUSIONS: Colorectal cancer in Filipinos exhibits a number of unique clinicopathologic features, such as a higher proportion of early age of onset tumors, more advanced stage at presentation, an association with chronic granulomatous diseases, and relatively rare occurrence with polyps. This might suggest the possibility of a different pathway for tumor development of colorectal cancer in this population of patients. Also, current screening guidelines advocated for the Western population might not be appropriate for Filipinos.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-195
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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