Sessile Serrated Polyps and Colon Cancer Prevention

Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2017 May;10(5):270-278. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-16-0264. Epub 2017 Mar 21.


Evidence suggests that up to one fifth of colorectal carcinomas develop from serrated polyps, named for their pattern of colonic crypts, and include the sessile serrated adenoma/polyp (SSA/P) that has malignant potential. SSA/Ps are typically located in the proximal colon and have molecular features of hypermethylation of CpG islands in gene promoters and activating point mutations (V600E) in the BRAF oncogene. Both of these features are seen in sporadic colorectal carcinomas with microsatellite instability (MSI) which is potentially consistent with an origin of these cancers from precursor SSA/Ps. Dysplasia is detected in a subset of SSA/Ps with a high risk of progression to carcinoma. An uncommon serrated polyp is the traditional serrated adenoma that is typically found in the left colon, has a tubulovillous architecture, and frequently harbors mutant KRAS To date, the epidemiology of these serrated lesions is poorly understood, and limited observational data suggest a potential chemopreventive benefit of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The current primary strategy to reduce the risk of colorectal carcinoma from serrated polyps is to enhance their detection at colonoscopy and to ensure their complete removal. This review provides insight into the epidemiologic, clinical, histopathologic, and molecular features of serrated polyps and includes data on their endoscopic detection and chemoprevention. Cancer Prev Res; 10(5); 270-8. ©2017 AACR.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenomatous Polyps / pathology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Colonic Polyps / pathology*
  • Humans