Colonoscopy surveillance of individuals at risk of familial colorectal cancer

Bradshaw, N.; Holloway, S.; Penman, I.; Dunlop, M. G.; Porteous, M. E. M.
December 2003
Gut;Dec2003, Vol. 52 Issue 12, p1748
Academic Journal
Background: Individuals with first degree relatives affected with colorectal cancer (CRC) at a young age, or more than one relative affected but who do not fulfil the Amsterdam criteria for a diagnosis of hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC), are believed to be at an increased risk of CRC. However, there is a poucHy of prospective data on the potential benefit of colonoscopic surveillance in such groups categorised by empiric family history criteria. We report a prospective study of 448 individuals seeking counselling about their perceived family history of CRC. Patients and methods: Following pedigree tracing, verification, and risk assignment by genetic counsellors, colonoscopy was undertaken for those at a moderate or high risk (HNPCC). Those classified as low risk were reassured and discharged without surveillance. Here we report our findings at the prevalence screen in the 176 patients of the 448 assessed who underwent colonoscopy. Results: Fifty three individuals had a family history that met Amsterdam criteria (median age 43 years) and1 123 individuals were classed as moderate risk (median age 43 years). No cancers were detected at1 colonoscopy in any group. Four individuals (8% (95% confidence limits (CL) 0.4-15%)) in the high risk group had an adenoma detected at a median age of 46 years and all four were less than 50 years of age. Five (4% (95% CL 0.6- 8%)) of the moderate risk individuals had an adenoma at a median age of 54 years, two of whom were less than 50 years of age. Conclusions: These findings indicate that the prevalence of significant neoplasia in groups defined by family history is low, particularly in younger age groups. These prospective data call into question the value of colonoscopy before the age of 50 years in moderate risk individuals.


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