Improving Outcomes for Patients With Appendiceal Cancer

Andreana Holowatyj discusses the key takeaway for community oncologists about early-onset appendiceal cancer.

Andreana Holowatyj, PhD, MSCI, assistant professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology, Epidemiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, discusses the key takeaway for community oncologists about early-onset appendiceal cancer.

With the limited information regarding the risk factors and etiologies of appendiceal cancer available, oncologists consider the issue to be the cause of the growing increase of early on-set cases in the United States.

Holowatyj notes that one must consider this type of cancer as a distinct disease, different from colon cancer as the potential misclassification of appendiceal cancer only makes it harder for patients and oncologists to understand the unique characteristics of the disease. Remaining aware of the differences between these 2 types of cancers allows individuals to better classify and understand each of them in order to make clinical, therapeutic and epidemiological advancements in the future.


0:08 | Given the alarming increase that we're seeing in appendiceal cancer incidents, we don't understand why. With these undetermined causes, these distinct patterns and disparities and disease outcomes that our team has discovered, particularly among young individuals, is really critical to accurately diagnose and distinguish these malignancies. I've mentioned the potential misclassification of appendiceal cancer as colon cancer really introduces barriers to us to discover disease specific risk factors, potential tumor biomarkers, and that has implications and risk assessment surveillance screening as well as treatment.

0:51 | Moreover, given the trend towards more non-operative management of appendicitis, gastroenterologists and surgeons should keep appendiceal tumors in the differential diagnosis of young patients that present in this matter, and possibly consider a lower threshold for performing appendectomy to exclude malignancy overall. I think these findings have really emphasized that appendiceal tumors should not be conflated with those of sequel origin, particularly in tumor registries, but yet set the foundation for future studies that really seek to drive our understanding of this malignancy and rising disease burden further.