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J Gastrointest Oncol. 2015 Oct;6(5):459-68. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2078-6891.2015.050.

Increased risk of colorectal polyps in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease undergoing liver transplant evaluation.

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Center for Liver Disease and Transplantation, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY, USA.



Screening colonoscopy is a standard part of the liver transplant (LT) evaluation process. We aimed to evaluate the yield of screening colonoscopy and determine whether non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) was associated with an increased risk of colorectal neoplasia.


We retrospectively assessed all patients who completed LT evaluation at our center between 1/2008-12/2012. Patients <50 years old and those without records of screening colonoscopy, or with greater than average colon cancer risk were excluded.


A total of 1,102 patients were evaluated, 591 met inclusion criteria and were analyzed. The mean age was 60 years, 67% were male, 12% had NAFLD and 88% had other forms of chronic liver disease. Overall, 42% of patients had a polyp found on colonoscopy: 23% with adenomas, 14% with hyperplastic polyps and with 1% inflammatory polyps. In the final multivariable model controlling for age, NAFLD [odds ratio (OR) 2.41, P=0.001] and a history of significant alcohol use (OR 1.69, P=0.004) were predictive of finding a polyp on colonoscopy. In addition, NAFLD (OR 1.95, P=0.02), significant alcohol use (OR 1.70, P=0.01) and CTP class C (OR 0.57, P=0.02) were associated with adenoma, controlling for age.


Screening colonoscopy in patients awaiting LT yields a high rate of polyp (43%) and adenoma (22%) detection, perhaps preventing the accelerated progression to carcinoma that can occur in immunosuppressed post-LT patients. Patients with NAFLD may be at a ~2 fold higher risk of adenomas and should be carefully evaluated prior to LT.


Colon cancer; cirrhosis; liver transplant (LT); non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD); screening

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