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Adv Anat Pathol. 2011 Jan;18(1):46-52. doi: 10.1097/PAP.0b013e3182028366.

Comprehensive evaluation of colorectal polyps in specimens from endoscopic biopsies.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of California Irvine School of Medicine, 101 The City Drive South, Orange, CA 92868, USA.


Modern evaluation of specimens from biopsies of colorectal polyps has become increasingly complex because of tremendous progress in the understanding of colorectal neoplasia. Although pathologists are generally familiar with the basic handling of carcinoma in the setting of polypectomies or resections, the comprehensive evaluation of specimens from biopsies of colorectal polyps obtained with forceps is far from intuitive and has yet to be reviewed. Comprehensive evaluation requires always addressing several key issues, even when dealing with seemingly routine cases. These issues include taking further action when initial sections lack polyps, accurately quantitating polyps, accurately classifying polyps, determining whether thresholds are met for considering conditions at high risk for carcinoma, detecting incidental findings other than polyps, and determining which incidental findings are clinically significant. In particular, polyposis with attenuated phenotype or Lynch syndrome may be clinically occult, and the possibility of these entities should always be kept in mind, regardless of age or history. Ancillary studies performed immediately on carcinoma that is detected at biopsy guides surgery, guides medical therapy, prognosticates, provides evidence for hereditary neoplasia, and guides surveillant colonoscopy for the family.

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