Urologic Cancer Increases Risk for Colorectal Cancer

A previous diagnosis of ureter or kidney cancer increases the risk for colorectal cancer, especially when the diagnosis was made before the age of 60.  In addition, colorectal cancer increases risk for certain urologic cancers.

Cancer in the ureter or renal pelvis (urothelial cancer) was most strongly associated with later colorectal cancer with only a small increased risk with diagnoses of bladder cancer or cancer in other parts of the kidney.

Researchers at the University of Chicago reviewed SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) data  from 1973 through 2000.  They calculated the ratios in the cancers they found compared to what would have been expected in the population or the standard incidence ratios (SIRS).

After a diagnosis of ureter cancer, colorectal cancer was 80 percent more likely, cancer in the renal pelvis increased colorectal cancer risk by 45 percent.  After colorectal cancer, there was a 25 percent higher risk of a urologic cancer, particularly when the colorectal cancer was diagnosed in patients before the age of 60 or who had more than one colon or rectal cancer.

Audrey Calderwood and her colleagues at the University of Chicago concluded,

Previous renal pelvis and ureteral cancers, particularly when diagnosed at an early age, increase the risk for subsequent colorectal cancer. Likewise, a history of CRC, especially in cases with multiple primary tumors, is associated with an increased risk of renal pelvis and ureteral cancers. These findings support a possible common pathogenetic mechanism between CRC and urologic cancers and may have implications for screening guidelines.

More information about cancers of the renal pelvis and ureters is available from Massachusetts General Hospital.

SOURCE: Calderwood et.al, Archives of Internal Medicine, Volume 168, Number 9, May 12, 2008.

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