Heterogeneity in colorectal cancer incidence among people recommended 3-yearly surveillance post-polypectomy: a validation study

Colorectal Cancer

Endoscopy. 2020 Aug 19. doi: 10.1055/a-1217-0155. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Colonoscopy surveillance is recommended for patients at increased risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) following adenoma removal. Low-, intermediate-, and high-risk groups are defined by baseline adenoma characteristics. We previously examined intermediate-risk patients from hospital data and identified a higher-risk subgroup who benefited from surveillance and a lower-risk subgroup who may not require surveillance. This study explored whether these findings apply in individuals undergoing CRC screening.

METHODS: This retrospective study used data from the UK Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Screening Trial (UKFSST), English CRC screening pilot (ECP), and US Kaiser Permanente CRC prevention program (KPCP). Screening participants (50 - 74 years) classified as intermediate-risk at baseline colonoscopy were included. CRC data were available through 2006 (KPCP) or 2014 (UKFSST, ECP). Lower- and higher-risk subgroups were defined using our previously identified baseline risk factors: higher-risk participants had incomplete colonoscopies, poor bowel preparation, adenomas ≥ 20 mm or with high-grade dysplasia, or proximal polyps. We compared CRC incidence in these subgroups and in the presence vs. absence of surveillance using Cox regression.

RESULTS: Of 2291 intermediate-risk participants, 45 % were classified as higher risk. Median follow-up was 11.8 years. CRC incidence was higher in the higher-risk than lower-risk subgroup (hazard ratio [HR] 2.08, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 1.07 - 4.06). Surveillance reduced CRC incidence in higher-risk participants (HR 0.35, 95 %CI 0.14 - 0.86) but not statistically significantly so in lower-risk participants (HR 0.41, 95 %CI 0.12 - 1.38).

CONCLUSION: As previously demonstrated for hospital patients, screening participants classified as intermediate risk comprised two risk subgroups. Surveillance clearly benefited the higher-risk subgroup.