First-degree relatives of patients with advanced colorectal adenomas have an increased prevalence of colorectal cancer

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2003 Mar;1(2):96-102. doi: 10.1053/cgh.2003.50018.


Background & aims: The risk of colorectal cancer in relatives of patients with adenomatous colonic polyps is not well defined. This study assessed whether finding colonic neoplasia during screening colonoscopy was related to the family history of colorectal cancer among the participants' parents and siblings.

Methods: Self-reported family history of colorectal cancer was recorded for all participants in a screening colonoscopy study. The size and location of all polyps were recorded before their removal and histologic examination. Participants were grouped according to the most advanced lesion detected.

Results: Three thousand one hundred twenty-one patients underwent complete colonoscopic examination. Subjects with adenomas were more likely to have a family history of colorectal cancer than were subjects without polyps (odds ratio [OR], 1.36; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.09-1.70). The finding of a small (<1 cm) tubular adenoma as the most advanced lesion was associated with only a modest increase in the OR of colorectal cancer in family members (OR, 1.26; 95% CI, 0.99-1.61), but the presence of an advanced adenoma was associated with a higher OR (OR, 1.62;5% CI, 1.16-2.26). Younger age of adenoma diagnosis was not related to a higher prevalence of a family history of colorectal cancer.

Conclusions: Relatives patients with advanced colorectal adenomas have an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Individuals with advanced colorectal adenomas should be counseled about the increased risk of colorectal cancer among their relatives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / diagnosis
  • Adenoma / genetics*
  • Aged
  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies