Metachronous colon polyps in younger versus older adults: a case-control study

Gastrointest Endosc. 2018 Mar;87(3):657-665. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2017.05.011. Epub 2017 May 23.

Abstract

Background and aims: The incidence of colorectal cancer in the United States has decreased substantially in individuals aged 50 and older. In contrast, it is increasing in young adults. The polyp characteristics on baseline and follow-up colonoscopy in young adults are not well characterized. We describe the polyp characteristics on baseline and follow-up colonoscopy in adults <40 years and determined factors associated with the occurrence of metachronous, advanced neoplasia or high-risk (HR) polyp features. We compared the occurrence of metachronous advanced neoplasia in young adults with those 50 years and older to assess whether postpolypectomy surveillance guidelines seem appropriate for polyp-bearing adults less than age 40 years.

Methods: Patients <40 years of age with >1 polyp removed on colonoscopy followed by a postpolypectomy colonoscopy were eligible. The primary outcome was the occurrence of advanced neoplasia or HR polyp features on follow-up colonoscopy. Secondary endpoints included factors associated with metachronous advanced neoplasia in young adults. The occurrence of metachronous advanced neoplasia in young adults was compared with a cohort of patients aged 50 years and older.

Results: Included were 128 patients with a mean age of 34.9 years; 124 patients (97%) had adenomas and 7% had sessile serrated polyps (SSPs). Advanced neoplasia was seen in 35% of patients at baseline. The median follow-up time was 33.6 months. Metachronous advanced neoplasia was identified in 7% of patients on follow-up colonoscopy. Baseline factors associated with metachronous advanced neoplasia included the presence of an SSP (hazard ratio, 7.8; 95% CI, 1.09-56.3; P = .041) with a trend in those with advanced neoplasia (hazard ratio, 3.4; 95% confidence interval, .89-12.8; P = .072). The occurrence of metachronous advanced neoplasia did not differ between the young and older cohorts (7% vs 12.2%, P = .58); however, young adults were less likely to have HR polyp features on follow-up (8.6% vs 20.3%, P = .008).

Conclusions: More than 1 in 3 adults <40 years old undergoing colonoscopy had advanced neoplasia on baseline colonoscopy. The occurrence of metachronous advanced neoplasia in young adults is similar to older adults and appears to be associated with the size, pathology, and number of baseline polyps. Our data suggest young polyp-bearing adults may undergo postpolypectomy colonoscopy at intervals currently recommended by national guidelines. Confirmation in larger studies is warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colon / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Colonic Polyps / complications
  • Colonic Polyps / pathology*
  • Colonoscopy / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis