Risk factors for advanced lesions undetected at prior colonoscopy: not always poor preparation

Endoscopy. 2010 Dec;42(12):1071-6. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1255868. Epub 2010 Oct 19.


Background and study aim: Colonoscopy is regarded as the gold standard for diagnosis of colonic lesions. However, adenoma miss rates in tandem colonoscopy studies vary from 2 % to 26 %. We aimed to investigate the rates of advanced neoplasia in patients with a prior normal colonoscopy in an outpatient endoscopy unit.

Methods: Review of reports for colonoscopies performed in our Endoscopy Unit from 2000 to 2005. Undetected lesions were defined as advanced adenoma or colorectal cancer (CRC) not reported in a colonoscopy performed in the previous 2 or 3 years, respectively. Patients with hereditary nonpolyposis CRC (HNPCC) and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) were excluded.

Results: Between 2002 and 2005, 795 patients were diagnosed with at least one advanced adenoma and 386 with CRC. Among these, 107/795 patients (13.5 %) had advanced adenoma that had been undetected in a previous colonoscopy (39 % [53/135 lesions] in the right colon); 92/107 (86 %) had an undetected advanced adenoma ≥ 10 mm. Previously undetected CRCs were found in 27/386 patients (6.7 %), located in the left colon in 21/27 (78 %); in 7 the area had not been reached in the previous colonoscopy. Risk factors for undetected advanced adenoma were advanced age, male gender, the presence of another advanced adenoma at first colonoscopy, and history of advanced neoplasia.

Conclusions: Failure to detect advanced neoplasia is common in a community-based endoscopy facility. Previously undetected advanced lesions are more frequently found in the left colon and rectum. Risk factors for non-detection of advanced adenoma are similar to those for advanced neoplasia recurrence. Lowering non-detection rates is crucial for correct follow-up recommendations. Patients should be aware of rates of detection of advanced neoplasia after previous normal colonoscopic findings.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / diagnosis*
  • Adenoma / epidemiology
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli / complications
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Colonic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colonic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Polyps / diagnosis*
  • Colonoscopy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms, Hereditary Nonpolyposis / complications
  • False Negative Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Rectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Rectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors