Objective: Screening colonoscopy has been shown to reduce mortality and cancer stage in hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) individuals. However, the benefit of screening in intermediate risk groups is unknown. The most recent national guidelines have recommended a reduction of screening frequency for the intermediate risk group. Therefore, this study aims to compare the results of colonoscopic screening in HNPCC and intermediate risk groups and assess the effect of the most recent screening protocol recommendations.
Method: A total of 244 individuals; 108 from HNPCC families (28 mismatch repair gene carriers) and 136 from intermediate risk families were referred for regular colonoscopic screening by the Regional Genetics Service. Findings from 417 colonoscopies performed between 1992 and 2003 were evaluated.
Results: A total of three cancers, 39 adenomas and 41 hyperplastic polyps were found in the HNPCC group compared with one cancer, 22 adenomas and 19 hyperplasic polyps in the intermediate risk group. If the recent screening guidelines for the intermediate group were applied, then 89 (44%) fewer colonoscopies would have been performed. Although no cancers would have been missed, six adenomas (mean size = 5.7 mm, range 2-10 mm) with two graded as severely dysplasic and six hyperplastic polyps would not have been detected.
Conclusion: The detection rate and distribution of adenomas were similar in both groups. If the new colonoscopic screening recommendations for the intermediate risk group had been applied, a small number of significant lesions would have been missed.