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PURPOSE: Factors associated with early mortality after surgery and treatment with adjuvant chemotherapy in colon cancer are poorly understood. We aimed to characterize the determinants of early mortality in a large cohort of colon cancer trial participants. METHODS: A pooled analysis of 37,568 patients in 25 randomized trials of adjuvant systemic therapy was conducted. Multivariable logistic regression models with several definitions of early mortality (30, 60, and 90 days, and 6 months) were constructed, adjusting for clinically and statistically significant variables. A nomogram for 6-month mortality was developed and validated. RESULTS: Median age among patients was 61 years, patient demographics included 54% men and 90% White, 29% and 71% had stage II and III disease, respectively, and 79%, 20%, and 1% had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (PS) of 0, 1, and ≥ 2, respectively. Early mortality was low: 0.3% at 30 days, 0.6% at 60 days, 0.8% at 90 days, and 1.4% at 6 months. Of those patients who died by 6 months post-random assignment, 40% had documented disease recurrence prior to death. Early disease recurrence was associated with a markedly increased risk of death during the first 6 months post-treatment (hazard ratio, 82.6; 95%CI, 66.9 to 102.1). In prognostic analyses, advanced age, male sex, poorer PS, increasing ratio of positive to examined lymph nodes, earlier decade of enrollment, and higher tumor stage and grade predicted a greater likelihood of early mortality, whereas treatment received was not strongly predictive. A multivariable model for 6-month mortality showed strong optimism-adjusted discrimination (concordance index, 0.73) and calibration. CONCLUSION: Early mortality was infrequent but more prevalent in patients with advanced age and a PS of ≥ 2, underscoring the need to carefully consider the risk-to-benefit ratio when making treatment decisions in these subgroups.

Original publication




Journal article


J Clin Oncol

Publication Date





1182 - 1189


Age Factors, Aged, Colonic Neoplasms, Combined Modality Therapy, Databases, Factual, Female, Humans, Logistic Models, Lymphatic Metastasis, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasm Grading, Neoplasm Recurrence, Local, Neoplasm Staging, Nomograms, Odds Ratio, Predictive Value of Tests, Prognosis, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Sex Factors, Time Factors