Global colorectal cancer research, 2007-2021: Outputs and funding

Mursheda Begum, Grant Lewison*, Xiang Wang, Philip D. Dunne, Tim Maughan, Richard Sullivan, Mark Lawler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to provide an evidence base for colorectal cancer research activity that might influence policy, mainly at the national level. Improvements in healthcare delivery have lengthened life expectancy, but within a situation of increased cancer incidence. The disease burden of CRC has risen significantly, particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Research is key to its control and reduction, but few studies have delineated the volume and funding of global research on CRC. We identified research papers in the Web of Science (WoS) from 2007 to 2021, and determined the contributions of the leading countries, the research domains studied, and their sources of funding. We identified 62 716 papers, representing 5.7% of all cancer papers. This percentage was somewhat disproportionate to the disease burden (7.7% in 2015), especially in Eastern Europe. International collaboration increased over the time period in almost all countries except in China. Genetics, surgery and prognosis were the leading research domains. However, research on palliative care and quality-of-life in CRC was lacking. In Western Europe, the main funding source was the charity sector, particularly in the UK, but in most other countries government played the leading role, especially in China and the USA. There was little support from industry. Several Asian countries provided minimal contestable funding, which may have reduced the impact of their CRC research. Certain countries must perform more CRC research overall, especially in domains such as screening, palliative care and quality-of-life. The private-non-profit sector should be an alternative source of support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-479
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • colorectal cancer
  • disease burden
  • funding
  • research domains
  • research outputs


Dive into the research topics of 'Global colorectal cancer research, 2007-2021: Outputs and funding'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this