Serrated polyps of the colon and rectum (hyperplastic polyps, sessile serrated adenomas, traditional serrated adenomas, and mixed polyps)-proposal for diagnostic criteria

Virchows Arch. 2010 Sep;457(3):291-7. doi: 10.1007/s00428-010-0945-1. Epub 2010 Jul 9.


Until recently, two major types of colorectal epithelial polyps were distinguished: the adenoma and the hyperplastic polyp. While adenomas-because of their cytological atypia-were recognized as the precursor lesions for colorectal carcinoma, hyperplastic polyps were perceived as harmless lesions without any potential for malignant progression mainly because hyperplastic polyps are missing cytological atypia. Meanwhile, it is recognized that the lesions, formerly classified as hyperplastic, represent a heterogeneous group of polyps with characteristic serrated morphology some of which exhibit a significant risk of neoplastic progression. These serrated lesions show characteristic epigenetic alterations not commonly seen in colorectal adenomas and progress to colorectal carcinoma via the so-called serrated pathway (CpG-island-methylation-phenotype pathway). This group of polyps is comprised not only of hyperplastic polyps, but also of sessile serrated adenomas, traditional serrated adenomas and mixed polyps, showing serrated and "classical" adenomatous features. Diagnostic criteria and nomenclature for these lesions are not uniform and, therefore, somewhat confusing. In a consensus conference of the Working Group of Gastroenterological Pathology of the German Society of Pathology, standardization of nomenclature and diagnostic criteria as well as recommendations for clinical management of these serrated polyps were formulated and are presented herein.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / genetics
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Colonic Polyps / classification
  • Colonic Polyps / diagnosis*
  • Colonic Polyps / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Precancerous Conditions / classification
  • Precancerous Conditions / diagnosis*
  • Precancerous Conditions / genetics
  • Rectum / pathology