Purpose: Despite the introduction of screening, surveillance, and prophylactic colectomy surgery, patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) are at risk of dying from other malignancies.
Methods: In order to quantify this risk and identify the causes of mortality, a retrospective life table analysis was performed on 222 patients with familial adenomatous polyposis who had undergone a total colectomy and ileorectal anastomosis between 1948 and 1990. These FAP patients were compared with an age- and sex-matched group of the general population and a relative risk of dying was calculated.
Results: Of 222 patients, 53 have died. In a matched group of the general population the expected number of deaths would be 15.8. The relative risk of dying is therefore 3.35. There has been no significant improvement with time and the relative risk is greatest for female patients.
Conclusion: The three main causes of mortality are upper gastrointestinal malignancy, desmoid disease, and perioperative complications. Further research should therefore be aimed at prevention and improved treatment of these in order to improve survival.