Colonoscopy in asymptomatic individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer

Ann Surg Oncol. 2002 Jun;9(5):439-43. doi: 10.1007/BF02557265.


Background: This study was performed to evaluate the use of total colonoscopy as the optimal screening test in asymptomatic individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer (CRC).

Methods: Colonoscopy was performed in 249 asymptomatic individuals who had one or two first-degree relatives (FDRs) with CRC; individuals with three or more FDRs with CRC were excluded.

Results: Eighty-six colonic lesions were found in 51 individuals (51 of 249; 20.5%). Among these 51 subjects, 27 had neoplastic polyps (n = 38) and 29 had metaplastic polyps (n = 44). Although no invasive cancer was detected, in 14 individuals the lesions had a high malignancy potential because of their size and histopathology. We did not confirm a statistically significant difference in the incidence of neoplastic polyps according to the number of affected FDRs. Finally, the presence of metaplastic polyps was a very strong indication for the concomitant presence of metaplastic polyps (P <.0001).

Conclusions: Total colonoscopy is the optimal screening procedure for the examination of asymptomatic individuals with a family history of CRC.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colonic Polyps / complications
  • Colonic Polyps / diagnosis*
  • Colonoscopy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pedigree
  • Predictive Value of Tests