Late-Onset GI Complications Tied to Childhood Cancers

Survivors of childhood cancers have increased risk of late gastrointestinal complications

MONDAY, June 6 (HealthDay News) -- Survivors of childhood cancer have an increased risk of developing gastrointestinal (GI) complications later in life, according to a study published in the May issue of Gastroenterology.

Robert Goldsby, M.D., from the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital, and colleagues investigated the incidence of long-term GI complications and treatment-related risk factors in 14,358 childhood cancer survivors, who were diagnosed with cancer between 1970 and 1986 at an average age of 6.8 years. Participants were assessed for adverse liver and upper and lower GI outcomes at an average age of 23.2 years. The results were compared with siblings, with an average age of 26.6 years. Self-reported late GI complications occurring five years or more after diagnosis were correlated with patient characteristics and treatments received, after adjusting for age, sex, and race.

The investigators found that cancer survivors had a higher risk of developing late-onset GI complications than siblings (rate ratio [RR], 1.8 for upper GI, 2.1 for hepatic, and 1.9 for lower GI). The cancer survivors required colonoscopy/ileostomy and liver biopsy more than their siblings (RR, 5.6 and 24.1, respectively), and had a higher rate of liver cirrhosis (RR, 8.9). The risk of certain GI complications increased with older age at diagnosis, intensified therapy, abdominal radiation, and surgery.

"Individuals who received therapy for cancer during childhood have an increased risk of developing GI complications later in life," the authors write.

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