Background: According to the adenoma-carcinoma concept, all colorectal adenomas are to be removed and all patients have to undergo regular surveillance examinations. But there is still shortage on information on the long-term results of follow-up colonoscopy after polypectomy.
Methods: Between 1978 and 2003, more than 20,000 polyps were prospectively documented at the Erlangen Registry of Colorectal Polyps. A total of 1,091 patients undergoing periodic surveillance examinations are studied for differences between initial and metachronous lesions of the colorectum. Statistical analysis using chi (2)-testing of adenoma characteristics found in four subsequent recurrence periods and calculation of the relative risk (RR) for the development of metachronous adenomas of advanced pathology was performed.
Results: In comparison with the initial findings, metachronous adenomas are, in general, significantly smaller ones (p < 0.00001), more frequently tubular lesions (p < 0.00001) and bearing less often high-grade dysplasia (p < 0.00001). Adenomas of advanced pathology were significantly less often found during follow-up than at baseline examination (p < 0.0001). These differences are found between the initial and four subsequent generations of metachronous adenomas. Patients with adenomas of advanced pathology at baseline have a significantly higher risk for metachronous adenomas of advanced pathology (RR 1.51; 95%CI 1.04-1.93) at the first recurrence.
Conclusions: Metachronous adenomas show uniform characteristics of being small tubular lesions rarely bearing high-grade dysplasia. Thus, regular surveillance examinations can provide sufficient colorectal carcinoma prevention.