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Impact of Comorbidity Clusters in Patients Treated for Colorectal Cancer

By: Cordi Craig
Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2018

A study published in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network found definitive comorbidity clusters that seem to be independent predictors of treatment and survival for patients with colorectal cancer. This work, led by Erin E. Hahn, PhD, MPH, of Kaiser Permanente, in Pasadena, California, presents an opportunity for greater clinical understanding of how comorbidity profiles may affect the treatment and survival of certain groups of patients with colorectal cancer.

Approximately 7,800 patients, with a median age of 66 years, were retrospectively sampled from electronic health records. The investigators used a latent class analysis (LCA) to identify comorbidity profiles, and the Cox proportional hazards analysis was used to examine how comorbidity class impacts survival.

A total of 59% of patients showed at least one comorbid condition, whereas 19% showed at least four. The LCA method identified four distinct comorbidity profiles that were independently associated with treatment selection and survival. Distinguishing profiles included the presence or absence of vascular and/or respiratory disease, diabetes with complications, and greater Charlson comorbidity index scores.

The researchers concluded that the data from this study contribute to a shift “away from simple counting of comorbid conditions and toward a more nuanced understanding of how comorbidities cluster within a group of patients with colorectal cancer.”

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