Background & aims: Adenomatous polyps are by definition dysplastic and pathologically indistinguishable from the dysplasia-associated lesion or mass (DALM) described in 1981. Yet, adenomatous polyps in noncolitic colons are usually removed definitively endoscopically, whereas DALMs are regarded as harbingers of colon cancer, mandating colectomy.
Methods: Since 1988, all of our patients with chronic ulcerative or Crohn's colitis and dysplastic polyps and no coexistent dysplasia in flat mucosa underwent colonoscopic polypectomy. Biopsy specimens were obtained also adjacent to polypectomy sites, from strictures, and throughout the colon at 10-cm intervals. Follow-up colonoscopies and biopsies were performed within 6 months after polypectomy and yearly thereafter.
Results: Colonoscopy in 48 patients with chronic colitis (mean duration, 25.4 years) resected 70 polyps (60 in colitic and 10 in noncolitic mucosa). Polyps were detected on screening colonoscopies (29%) and on surveillance (71%). Pathology was tubular adenoma in all polyps from noncolitic mucosa and low-grade dysplasia (57), high-grade dysplasia (2), or carcinoma (1) in polyps from colitic mucosa. Subsequent colonoscopies (mean follow-up, 4.1 years) revealed additional polyps in 48% but no carcinomas. Surgical resection (6 patients) for recurrent polyps confirmed colonoscopic findings. No dysplasia or cancers in flat mucosa were found at surgery or on follow-up colonoscopies.
Conclusions: In patients with chronic colitis who have no dysplasia in flat mucosa, colonoscopic resection of dysplastic polyps can be performed effectively, just as in noncolitic colons.