Lagtimes in diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer: Determinants and association with cancer stage and survival

J. Wattacheril, J. R. Kramer, P. Richardson, B. D. Havemann, L. K. Green, A. Le, H. B. El-Serag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: Lagtimes to diagnostic colonoscopy have been used as practice performance measures. Aim: To evaluate the duration, determinants and outcomes of lagtimes between referral for endoscopic evaluation and colorectal cancer (CRC) diagnosis. Methods: We examined the medical records of 289 patients with CRC and evaluated lagtimes, their potential determinants and their association with CRC stage at diagnosis as well as overall survival. Results: Median lag between referral and CRC diagnosis was 41 days (41.5% > 60 days, 30.1% > 90 days). The only significant predictor of lagtime was the initiating event for referral: abnormal symptom, laboratory test or imaging study was associated with shortest and presence of family history was associated with longest lagtimes respectively. Longer lagtimes were associated with lower mortality risk, but this was completely explained by earlier CRC stage. An analysis restricted to 100 patients referred for abnormal CRC screening tests found no association between duration of lag and CRC stage or mortality. Conclusions: There seems to be no meaningful association between mortality in patients with CRC and lagtimes between referral for colonoscopy and CRC diagnosis for periods up to 2-3 months. On the contrary, longer lagtimes were inversely associated with CRC stage at the time of diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1166-1174
Number of pages9
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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