Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Gastroenterol. 2009 Jun;104(6):1508-18. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2009.135. Epub 2009 Apr 28.

Development and validation of a colon cancer risk assessment tool for patients undergoing colonoscopy.

Author information

Division of Gastroenterology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



Diagnostic criteria for hereditary colorectal cancer (CRC) are complex. "Open-access" colonoscopy makes it challenging to identify who needs genetic evaluation, intensive surveillance, and screening for extracolonic tumors. Our aim was to develop a simple, preprocedural risk assessment tool to identify who may be at highest risk for CRC.


A total of 631 outpatients undergoing colonoscopy at two academic practices completed a questionnaire assessing personal and family histories of CRC, polyps, and Lynch syndrome (LS)-associated malignancies. Subjects were considered to be high-risk if one of the nine prespecified characteristics of hereditary CRC syndromes was met. Through recursive partitioning analysis, an algorithm of fewest questions needed to capture the most high-risk individuals was developed. The results were validated in 5,335 individuals undergoing colonoscopy at five private endoscopy centers and tested in 285 carriers of mismatch repair mutations associated with LS.


About 17.7% and 20.0% of individuals were classified as high-risk in the development and validation cohorts, respectively. Recursive partitioning revealed three questions that were most informative for identifying high-risk patients: (i) "Do you have a first-degree relative with CRC or LS-related cancer diagnosed before age 50?" (ii) "Have you had CRC or polyps diagnosed before age 50?" (iii) "Do you have > or =3 relatives with CRC?" When asked successively, these questions identified 77% of high-risk individuals in both cohorts and 271 of 285 (95%) of mutation carriers.


Approximately one in five individuals undergoing colonoscopy would benefit from further risk assessment. We developed a simple, three-question CRC Risk Assessment Tool to identify the majority of patients who require additional assessment and possible genetic evaluation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center