A Multi-Institutional Cohort of Therapy-Associated Polyposis in Childhood and Young Adulthood Cancer Survivors

Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2020 Mar;13(3):291-298. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-19-0416. Epub 2020 Feb 12.


Prior small reports have postulated a link between gastrointestinal polyposis and childhood and young adulthood cancer (CYAC) treatment (therapy-associated polyposis; TAP), but this remains a poorly understood phenomenon. The aim of this study was to describe the phenotypic spectrum of TAP in a multi-institutional cohort. TAP cases were identified from eight high-risk cancer centers. Cases were defined as patients with ≥10 gastrointestinal polyps without known causative germline alteration or hereditary colorectal cancer predisposition syndrome who had a history of prior treatment with chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy for CYAC. A total of 34 TAP cases were included (original CYAC: 27 Hodgkin lymphoma, three neuroblastoma, one acute myeloid leukemia, one medulloblastoma, one nephroblastoma, and one non-Hodgkin lymphoma). Gastrointestinal polyposis was first detected at a median of 27 years (interquartile range, 20-33) after CYAC treatment. A total of 12 of 34 (35%) TAP cases had ≥50 colorectal polyps. A total of 32 of 34 (94%) had >1 histologic polyp type. A total of 25 of 34 (74%) had clinical features suggestive of ≥1 colorectal cancer predisposition syndrome [e.g., attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), serrated polyposis syndrome, extracolonic manifestations of FAP, mismatch repair-deficient colorectal cancer, or hamartomatous polyposis] including 8 of 34 (24%) with features of multiple such syndromes. TAP is an apparently acquired phenomenon that should be considered in patients who develop significant polyposis without known causative germline alteration but who have had prior treatment for a CYAC. Patients with TAP have features that may mimic various hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes, suggesting multiple concurrent biologic mechanisms, and recognition of this diagnosis may have implications for cancer risk and screening.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Cancer Survivors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Gastric Mucosa / drug effects
  • Gastric Mucosa / pathology
  • Gastric Mucosa / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / radiation effects
  • Intestinal Polyposis / epidemiology*
  • Intestinal Polyposis / etiology
  • Intestinal Polyposis / pathology
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Stomach Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Stomach Diseases / etiology
  • Stomach Diseases / pathology
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents