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November 5, 2008

Family History and Survival in Patients With Stage III Colorectal Cancer—Reply

JAMA. 2008;300(17):1996-1997. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.548

In Reply: Mr van Rossum and colleagues raise a concern that data are available only for patients with stage III colon cancer and that there is an absence of staging and family history data on patients who were excluded. The study was conducted among patients with stage III colon cancer who were enrolled in an adjuvant chemotherapy trial. Patients with other stages of disease were not eligible for the trial and thus not examined in our analysis.

The patients who sustained cancer recurrence or death prior to completing the questionnaire were significantly older and had a lower body mass index compared with the patients who completed the questionnaire, but the groups did not differ according to other baseline patient and tumor characteristics. We have no reason to suspect that the prevalence of a family history of colorectal cancer was different in these patients compared with the rest of the cohort and would not expect a change in our results.