Researchers create online colorectal cancer risk calculator

January 3, 2014, Cleveland: Researchers at Cleveland Clinic have developed a new tool called CRC-PRO that allows physicians to quickly and accurately predict an individual's risk of colorectal cancer, as published in the current edition of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

CRC-PRO, or Colorectal Cancer Predicted Risk Online, is designed to help both patients and physicians determine when screening for colorectal cancer is appropriate. Current guidelines recommend patients are screened at the age of 50. However, with this new tool, physicians will be better able to identify who is truly at risk and when screenings for patients are necessary.

To develop the calculator, the researchers – led by Brian Wells, M.D., Ph.D., of the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences in Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute – analyzed data on over 180,000 patients from a longitudinal study conducted at the University of Hawaii. Patients were followed for up to 11.5 years to determine which factors were highly associated with the development of colorectal cancer.

"Creating a risk calculator that includes multiple risk factors offers clinicians a means to more accurately predict risk than the simple age-based cutoffs currently used in clinical practice," said Dr. Wells. "Clinicians could decide to screen high-risk patients earlier than age 50, while delaying or foregoing screening in low-risk individuals. "

Wells and his colleagues hope that their new, user-friendly calculator will help improve the efficiency of screenings. They also believe prediction tools like this can help lower healthcare costs by cutting down on unnecessary testing.

The Multiethnic Cohort Study comprised a diverse ethnic population. Previously, most research in this area has been performed predominately in Caucasians. Because cancer risk differs drastically in different racial groups, the researchers felt that an ethnically diverse population would more accurately reflect true risk.

"The development of risk prediction calculators like the CRC-PRO is vital for improving medical decision-making," said Michael Kattan, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences in Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute. "Tools like this represent another step toward personalized medicine that will ultimately improve efficiency, outcomes and patient care."

Kattan and his research team are involved in the creation of numerous risk prediction tools, including heart disease and cancers of the breast, prostate and thyroid, that are available at http://rcalc.ccf.org. He is currently working on software that will integrate these tools for automatic calculation in the Electronic Health Record to make this process easier for physicians.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Not all doctors follow cancer screening guidelines

Oct 14, 2010

Only one-fifth of primary care physicians in the US follow practice guidelines for colorectal cancer screening for all the tests they recommend, according to Dr. Robin Yabroff from the National Cancer Institute and her colleagues. ...

Recommended for you

Immune checkpoint inhibitors may work in brain cancers

15 hours ago

New evidence that immune checkpoint inhibitors may work in glioblastoma and brain metastases was presented today by Dr Anna Sophie Berghoff at the ESMO Symposium on Immuno-Oncology 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.

New model of follow up for breast cancer patients

19 hours ago

Public health researchers from the University of Adelaide have evaluated international breast cancer guidelines, finding that there is potential to improve surveillance of breast cancer survivors from both a patient and health ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.