Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
PLoS One. 2011;6(5):e20076. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020076. Epub 2011 May 24.

Risk of advanced colorectal neoplasia according to age and gender.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medicine II, University of Munich, Munich, Germany.



Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading causes of cancer related morbidity and death. Despite the fact that the mean age at diagnosis of CRC is lower in men, screening by colonoscopy or fecal occult blood test (FOBT) is initiated at same age in both genders. The prevalence of the common CRC precursor lesion, advanced adenoma, is well documented only in the screening population. The purpose of this study was to assess the risk of advanced adenoma at ages below screening age.


We analyzed data from a census of 625,918 outpatient colonoscopies performed in adults in Bavaria between 2006 and 2008. A logistic regression model to determine gender- and age-specific risk of advanced neoplasia was developed. Advanced neoplasia was found in 16,740 women (4.6%) and 22,684 men (8.6%). Male sex was associated with an overall increased risk of advanced neoplasia (odds ratio 1.95; 95% confidence interval, CI, 1.91 to 2.00). At any age and in any indication group, more colonoscopies were needed in women than in men to detect advanced adenoma or cancer. At age 75 14.8 (95% CI, 14.4-15.2) screening, 18.2 (95% CI, 17.7-18.7) diagnostic, and 7.9 (95% CI, 7.6-8.2) colonoscopies to follow up on a positive FOBT (FOBT colonoscopies) were needed to find advanced adenoma in women. At age 50 39.0 (95% CI, 38.0-40.0) diagnostic, and 16.3 (95% CI, 15.7-16.9) FOBT colonoscopies were needed. Comparable numbers were reached 20 and 10 years earlier in men than in women, respectively.


At any age and independent of the indication for colonoscopy, men are at higher risk of having advanced neoplasia diagnosed upon colonoscopy than women. This suggests that starting screening earlier in life in men than in women might result in a relevant increase in the detection of asymptomatic preneoplastic and neoplastic colonic lesions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk