History of negative colorectal endoscopy and risk of rectosigmoid neoplasms at screening flexible sigmoidoscopy

Int J Colorectal Dis. 2006 Mar;21(2):105-13. doi: 10.1007/s00384-005-0775-9. Epub 2005 Apr 28.


Background and aims: Screening sigmoidoscopy can reduce incidence of colorectal cancer and mortality. The optimal re-screening interval has not yet been defined. This study is aimed at estimating the risk of distal advanced adenomas (diameter >/=10 mm, villous component >20%, high-grade dysplasia) and cancer at screening flexible sigmoidoscopy in subjects aged 55-64 years who reported pre-screening negative colorectal endoscopy.

Patients: Eight thousands two hundred two subjects aged 55-64 years who underwent screening flexible sigmoidoscopy within the SCORE trial in Italy and who were able to report their previous history of colorectal endoscopy.

Results: Eight hundred eighty three of 8,202 subjects (10.8%) reported at least one prescreening negative endoscopy: among them, after 3-5 years, 6-10 years and >10 years intervals between last reported examination and screening endoscopy, the Absolute Risk of advanced adenomas was 1.5%, 0.9% and 0.9%; one cancer was detected (0.1%). Among the 7,319 subjects who did not report prescreening endoscopy the risks of advanced adenoma and cancer were 3.2% and 0.4%, respectively. Subjects with a previous colorectal examination had a 65% decreased risk of advanced adenomas (OR=0.35, 95%CI 0.18-0.66) and a 71% decreased risk of cancer (OR=0.29, 95%CI 0.04-1.12) as compared to those who did not. For subjects without family history of colorectal cancer the statistically significant decrease of the risk persisted up to ten years. The observed benefit seems not to apply to subjects with family history of colorectal cancer.

Conclusions: Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the interval between screening sigmoidoscopies could be safely expanded beyond 5 years for subjects without specific risk factors for colorectal cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma, Villous / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sigmoidoscopy / methods*