Aim Patients who have had colorectal adenomas removed are at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer in the future. We sought to determine whether surveillance colonoscopy at 5 years in low-risk postpolypectomy patients is necessary and effective.
Method UK multicentre retrospective study. Patients diagnosed with ‘low-risk’ colorectal adenomas between April 2004 and April 2007 were identified and results of all subsequent lower gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopies were noted. Where no colonoscopy had been done at or after 5 years from the index investigation, patient details were cross-checked against hospital colorectal multidisciplinary team databases to ensure no colorectal cancer had been detected in the meantime.
Results 641 patients were included. 131 patients (20.4%) had a ‘per protocol’ surveillance colonoscopy at 5 years. Of these, no patients were found to have colorectal cancer, 10 patients (7.6%) had advanced adenomas, 26 patients (19.8%) had non-advanced adenomas and 95 patients (72.5%) had no further adenomas. 510 patients (79.6%) did not have a surveillance colonoscopy at 5 years. Of these, 110 patients (17.2%) developed lower GI symptoms within 5 years of their index endoscopy and underwent a further lower GI endoscopy to investigate these symptoms. 3 colorectal cancers in 3 patients were found during these endoscopies and two further colorectal cancers were found at symptomatic colonoscopies at or after 5 years from index.
Conclusions Patients with low-risk adenomas should be risk profiled. Those with risk factors, such as two adenomas, male sex and advanced adenomas at index procedure should be offered 5-year surveillance colonoscopy.
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