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Gastroenterology. 2006 Dec;131(6):1683-9. Epub 2006 Aug 14.

Yield of advanced adenoma and cancer based on polyp size detected at screening flexible sigmoidoscopy.

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Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvani 15213-2582, USA.



Observational screening of the colon with subsequent referral for colonoscopy raises questions about the threshold of polyp size that necessitates referral. To examine the yield at colonoscopy when a given size lesion is observed, we assessed the yield of advanced adenoma and cancer at colonoscopy based on the size of the abnormality detected at flexible sigmoidoscopy (FSG).


We used data from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial, a randomized, controlled, community-based study of FSG.


Subsequent colonoscopy was performed on 10,850 subjects (60.4% male; mean age, 62.9 years) with a polyp visualized on screening FSG. For women with a polyp 0.5-0.9 cm on FSG (n = 1426), the yield in the distal colon on colonoscopy was 0.6% for cancer (number needed to screen [NNS] = 166) and 14.5% for advanced adenoma (NNS = 7). In men (n = 2183), the yield was 0.7% (NNS = 142) for cancer and 15.9% (NNS = 6) for advanced adenoma. Among persons with polyps 0.5-0.9 cm identified on FSG, 5.5% (198/3609) had distal advanced adenomas that measured <1.0 cm but had villous histology or high-grade dysplasia, and 9.9% (357/3609) had adenomas > or =1 cm.


The yield for a distal advanced adenomatous lesion when a polyp 0.5-0.9 cm is observed at FSG is substantial and is due to the presence of advanced histology in polyps <1 cm and to detection of polyps that measure > or =1.0 cm on colonoscopy. Establishing thresholds for observation versus evaluation will require careful assessment of the overall yield.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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