3 Scopus citations


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted routine screening for and treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) cancers. We analyzed changes in GI cancer pathology specimens resulting from diagnostic and therapeutic procedures at a single academic center in an epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our aim was to determine which cancer types, procedures, and patients were impacted by the pandemic. Methods: This was a retrospective, cohort study of patients identified based on carcinoma containing pathologic specimens reviewed in our institution resulting from diagnostic or resection procedures. Pathology and medical records of patients with GI and liver carcinoma and high-grade dysplasia were reviewed from February 1 to April 30 in 2018, 2019 and 2020. We used March 16, 2020 to delineate the pre-COVID-19 and COVID-19 period in 2020. Chi-squared or t-tests, as appropriate, were used to compare these time periods in each year. Mann Kendall test was used to test for trend in volume. ANCOVA was used to compare differences across years. Results: A total of 1028 pathology samples from 949 unique patients were identified during the study period. There was a 57% drop in samples within 2020 (p = 0.01) that was not present in either 2018 or 2019 (p<0.01). In 2020, there were significantly fewer resections compared to biopsies overall in the COVID-19 period (p = 0.01). There were fewer colorectal cancer specimens (p = 0.04) which were procured from older patients (p<0.01) in the 2020 COVID-19 period compared to pre-COVID-19. Conclusions: In our institution, there was a significant drop in diagnostic and resection specimens of GI cancers during the COVID-19 pandemic, disproportionately affecting older colorectal cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101839
JournalClinics and Research in Hepatology and Gastroenterology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Colon cancer
  • Endoscopy
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma


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