Use of surveillance colonoscopy among individuals with removal of high-risk polyps according to the US Multi-Society Task Force recommendations

Cancer. 2023 May 1;129(9):1394-1401. doi: 10.1002/cncr.34692. Epub 2023 Feb 17.


Background: Individuals with colorectal polypectomy are recommended to undergo surveillance colonoscopies at certain intervals to prevent subsequent colorectal cancer. Use of postpolypectomy surveillance according to the 2006 US Multi-Society Task Force (USMSTF) recommendations in an integrated health care system was investigated.

Methods: Use of surveillance colonoscopies was prospectively assessed among 3691 patients with removal of high-risk polyps at a screening colonoscopy during 2007-2012 in the Mass General Brigham Colonoscopy Cohort. With the follow-up up to 2017, the compliance with, overuse, and underuse of postpolypectomy surveillance according to the 2006 USMSTF recommendations was assessed. Surveillance use according to demographic factors was also investigated.

Results: During a median follow-up of 4.4 years (5th percentile, 95th percentile, 1.0, 9.9) 2360 (64%) patients had undergone a surveillance colonoscopy, among whom 758 (21%) were considered compliant with the USMSTF recommendations. A substantial underuse of surveillance colonoscopies of 62% was observed. Older age and lower income were associated with a higher incidence of underuse, whereas having a family history of colorectal cancer were associated with lower incidence of underuse. Overuse of surveillance colonoscopies was present in 17% of patients but showed no significant associations with demographic factors.

Conclusion: Substantial underuse of surveillance in patients with high-risk polyps was observed, particularly those with low income and older age. Efforts are needed to improve delivery and use of surveillance colonoscopy.

Plain language summary: The US Multi-Society Task Force recommends follow-up surveillance colonoscopy after polyp removal in the bowel, with intervals depending on the most severe findings. Adherence to surveillance recommendations in a large study with up to 10 years of follow-up among patients with high-risk polyps was investigated. Only 21% of patients adhered to the surveillance recommendations, whereas 62% showed delayed or no use of surveillance. Findings highlight the need for improved use of surveillance colonoscopy among patients at high risk of colorectal cancer.

Keywords: colonoscopy; colorectal cancer screening; gastroenterology; polypectomy; surveillance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Colonic Polyps* / diagnosis
  • Colonic Polyps* / epidemiology
  • Colonic Polyps* / surgery
  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Population Surveillance