Stuart Po-Hong Liu, MD, MPH

Higher BMI Linked to Increased Risk of Younger Colon Cancer Interview with:

Stuart Po-Hong Liu, MD, MPH

Dr. Po-Hong Liu

Stuart Po-Hong Liu, MD, MPH
Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit Massachusetts General Hospital and
Harvard Medical School
Boston What is the background for this study?

Response: Although there were global decreases in overall colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence, CRC rates have increased dramatically in those aged 20 to 49 years in the United States, parts of Europe, and Asia. The etiology and early detection of young-onset becomes an emerging research and clinical priority. Another important fact that is that this emerging public health concern has resulted in updated guidelines from the American Cancer Society advising average-risk screening begin at age 45, rather than 50.

However, up to this point, the etiology of young onset CRC remains largely unknown. Elucidating the role of traditional CRC risk factors in the etiopathogenesis of young-onset CRC is one of the first research agenda. What are the main findings?

Response:In this large prospective study of women, we found that higher current BMI was associated with increased risk of young-onset colorectal cancer. Both BMI at age 18 and weight gain since age 18 contributed to this observation. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: First our findings require validations in other studies. If validated, the implications could be several folds:

1) Doctors should be more aware of the potential higher risk of young onset colorectal cancer among their younger patients who were overweight and obese, and make sure they get screened starting age 45 according to the most updated guidelines.

2) On the other hand, younger obese adults should be educated and aware of their higher risk of colorectal cancer at younger ages. Our findings reinforce the benefits of obesity control in early adulthood and throughout life.

Disclosures:Dr. Po-Hong Liu and Dr. Yin Cao have nothing to disclose. Some of the authors received consulting fees from Janssen, Pfizer Inc., and Bayer Healthcare A.G.


Liu P, Wu K, Ng K, et al. Association of Obesity With Risk of Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer Among Women. JAMA Oncol. Published online October 11, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.4280

The information on is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.


Last Updated on October 15, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD