Skip to Main Content

COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.

What people with cancer should know:

Get the latest public health information from CDC:

Get the latest research information from NIH:

About this Publication
Association of Colonoscopy Adenoma Findings With Long-term Colorectal Cancer Incidence.
Pubmed ID
29800214 (View this publication on the PubMed website)
JAMA. 2018; Volume 319 (Issue 19): Pages 2021-2031

Click B, Pinsky PF, Hickey T, Doroudi M, Schoen RE


IMPORTANCE: Individuals with adenomatous polyps are advised to undergo repeated colonoscopy surveillance to prevent subsequent colorectal cancer (CRC), but the relationship between adenomas at colonoscopy and long-term CRC incidence is unclear.

OBJECTIVE: To compare long-term CRC incidence by colonoscopy adenoma findings.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Multicenter, prospective cohort study of participants in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer randomized clinical trial of flexible sigmoidoscopy (FSG) beginning in 1993 with follow-up for CRC incidence to 2013 across the United States. Participants included 154 900 men and women aged 55 to 74 years enrolled in PLCO of whom 15 935 underwent colonoscopy following their first positive FSG screening result. The final day of follow-up was December 31, 2013.

EXPOSURES: Enrolled participants had been randomized to FSG or usual care. Participants who underwent FSG and had abnormal findings were referred for follow-up. Subsequent colonoscopy findings were categorized as advanced adenoma (≥1 cm, high-grade dysplasia, or tubulovillous or villous histology), nonadvanced adenoma (<1 cm without advanced histology), or no adenoma.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primary outcome was CRC incidence within 15 years of the baseline colonoscopy. The secondary outcome was CRC mortality.

RESULTS: There were 15 935 participants who underwent colonoscopy (men, 59.7%; white, 90.7%; median age, 64 y [IQR, 61-68]). On initial colonoscopy, 2882 participants (18.1%) had an advanced adenoma, 5068 participants (31.8%) had a nonadvanced adenoma, and 7985 participants (50.1%) had no adenoma; median follow-up for CRC incidence was 12.9 years. CRC incidence rates per 10 000 person-years of observation were 20.0 (95% CI, 15.3-24.7; n = 70) for advanced adenoma, 9.1 (95% CI, 6.7-11.5; n = 55) for nonadvanced adenoma, and 7.5 (95% CI, 5.8-9.7; n = 71) for no adenoma. Participants with advanced adenoma were significantly more likely to develop CRC compared with participants with no adenoma (rate ratio [RR], 2.7 [95% CI, 1.9-3.7]; P < .001). There was no significant difference in CRC risk between participants with nonadvanced adenoma compared with no adenoma (RR, 1.2 [95% CI, 0.8-1.7]; P = .30). Compared with participants with no adenoma, those with advanced adenoma were at significantly increased risk of CRC death (RR, 2.6 [95% CI, 1.2-5.7], P = .01), but mortality risk in participants with nonadvanced adenoma was not significantly different (RR, 1.2 [95% CI, 0.5-2.7], P = .68).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Over a median of 13 years of follow-up, participants with an advanced adenoma at diagnostic colonoscopy prompted by a positive flexible sigmoidoscopy result were at significantly increased risk of developing colorectal cancer compared with those with no adenoma. Identification of nonadvanced adenoma may not be associated with increased colorectal cancer risk.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier: NCT00002540.

Related CDAS Studies
Related CDAS Projects