Background/aims: The frequency of colorectal adenomas, the precursor lesions for most cases of colorectal carcinoma, has been generally measured as prevalence rates of adenomas at autopsy or colonoscopy. The aim of this study was to estimate the incidence rate of adenomas and compare it with the adenoma recurrence rate.
Methods: Data on colonoscopies performed in three New York City practices were collected prospectively. The cumulative rate of adenoma diagnosis on repeat colonoscopy was calculated for patients with no abnormalities on index colonoscopy ("incidence" rate) and for patients with adenomas on the index colonoscopy ("recurrence" rate).
Results: The cumulative incidence rate of adenomas at 36 months was 16%, and the cumulative recurrence rate at 36 months was 42% (P < 0.004). The recurrence rate was higher in patients with multiple adenomas than in those with a single adenoma on index colonoscopy, although the increase was not statistically significant.
Conclusions: Although the recurrence rate has always been assumed to be elevated, this study is the first to compare the recurrence rate of adenomas with the incidence rate directly and to show that the recurrence rate is indeed elevated.