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Gastroenterology. 2008 Feb;134(2):388-95. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2007.11.007. Epub 2007 Nov 4.

Cigarette smoking and adenomatous polyps: a meta-analysis.

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Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy.



Through the past 2 decades, a consistent association between cigarette smoking and colorectal adenomatous polyps, recognized precursor lesions of colorectal cancer, has been shown. We performed a meta-analysis to provide a quantitative pooled risk estimate of the association, focusing on the different characteristics of the study populations, study designs, and clinical feature of the polyps.


We performed a comprehensive literature search of studies linking cigarette smoking and adenomas. We used random effects models to evaluate pooled relative risks and performed dose-response, heterogeneity, publication bias, and sensitivity analyses.


Forty-two independent observational studies were included in the analysis. The pooled risk estimates for current, former, and ever smokers in comparison with never smokers were 2.14 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.86-2.46), 1.47 (95% CI, 1.29-1.67), and 1.82 (95% CI, 1.65-2.00), respectively. The association was stronger for high-risk adenomas than for low-risk adenomas. Studies in which all controls underwent full colonoscopy showed a higher risk compared with studies in which some or all controls underwent partial colon examination.


This meta-analysis provides strong evidence of the detrimental effect of cigarette smoking on the development of adenomatous polyps. Smoking is important for both formation and aggressiveness of adenomas.

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