A greater proportion of liver transplant candidates have colorectal neoplasia than in the healthy screening population

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015 May;13(5):956-62. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2014.08.018. Epub 2014 Aug 20.


Background & aims: Various types of liver disease are associated with an increased prevalence of colorectal adenomas. We investigated whether cirrhosis is a risk factor for colorectal neoplasia by analyzing colonoscopy findings from 2 cohorts of patients awaiting liver transplantation.

Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis to compare findings from colorectal cancer screenings of 567 adult patients with cirrhosis placed on the waitlist for liver transplantation with those from controls (matched for age, sex, body mass index, smoking, and diabetes). Rates of adenoma and advanced adenoma detection were adjusted owing to differences in rates of polypectomies performed in the 2 cohorts.

Results: Adenomas were detected in a significantly higher percentage of patients with cirrhosis (29.3%) than in controls (21.5%) (P = .0057; relative risk [RR], 1.36; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.09-1.69); and patients with cirrhosis had a higher rate of advanced adenoma detection than controls (13.9% vs 7.7%; P = .0015; relative risk, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.25-2.64). A greater percentage of patients with alcoholic cirrhosis had neoplasias (34.3%) than controls (25.3%; P = .0350; RR, 1.36), and rates of advanced adenoma detection were 16.7% vs 10.2% (P = .0409; RR, 1.63). Adenomas were detected in 27.8% of patients with viral cirrhosis vs 15.9% of controls (P = .0061; RR, 1.74), with rates of advanced adenoma detection of 13.6% vs 5.0% (P = .0041; RR, 2.73). Similar proportions of patients with cirrhosis of other etiologies and controls were found to have colorectal neoplasias.

Conclusions: Based on a retrospective analysis of colonoscopy findings from patients awaiting liver transplantation, those with alcoholic or viral cirrhosis are at higher risk of developing colorectal neoplasia and should be considered for earlier colonoscopy examination.

Keywords: Colon Cancer; Early Detection; Screening Colonoscopy.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies