BACKGROUND & AIMS:
Endoscopists do not routinely follow guidelines to survey individuals with low-risk adenomas (LRAs; 1-2 small tubular adenomas, < 1 cm) every 5-10 years for colorectal cancer; many recommend shorter surveillance intervals for these individuals. We aimed to identify the reasons that endoscopists recommend shorter surveillance intervals for some individuals with LRAs and determine whether timing affects outcomes at follow-up examinations.
We collected data from 1560 individuals (45-75 years old) who participated in a prospective chemoprevention trial (of vitamin D and calcium) from 2004 through 2008. Participants in the trial had at least 1 adenoma, detected at their index colonoscopy, and were recommended to receive follow-up colonoscopy examinations at 3 or 5 years after adenoma identification, as recommended by the endoscopist. For this analysis we collected data from only participants with LRAs. These data included characteristics of participants and endoscopists and findings from index and follow-up colonoscopies. Primary endpoints were frequency of recommending shorter (3-year) vs longer (5-year) surveillance intervals, factors associated with these recommendations, and effect on outcome, determined at the follow-up colonoscopy.
A 3-year surveillance interval was recommended for 594 of the subjects (38.1%). Factors most significantly associated with recommendation of 3-year vs a 5-year surveillance interval included African American race (relative risk [RR] to white, 1.41; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14-1.75), Asian/Pacific Islander ethnicity (RR to white, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.22-2.43), detection of 2 adenomas at the index examination (RR vs 1 adenoma, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.27-1.71), more than 3 serrated polyps at the index examination (RR=2.16, 95% CI, 1.59-2.93), or index examination with fair or poor quality bowel preparation (RR vs excellent quality, 2.16; 95% CI, 1.66-2.83). Other factors that had a significant association with recommendation for a 3-year surveillance interval included family history of colorectal cancer and detection of 1-2 serrated polyps at the index examination. In comparisons of outcomes, we found no significant differences between the 3-year vs 5-year recommendation groups in proportions of subjects found to have 1 or more adenomas (38.8% vs 41.7% respectively; P = .27), advanced adenomas (7.7% vs 8.2%; P = .73) or clinically significant serrated polyps (10.0% vs 10.3%; P = .82) at the follow-up colonoscopy.
Possibly influenced by patients' family history, race, quality of bowel preparation, or number or size of polyps, endoscopists frequently recommend 3-year surveillance intervals instead of guideline-recommended intervals of 5 years or longer for individuals with LRAs. However, at the follow-up colonoscopy, similar proportions of participants have 1 or more adenomas, advanced adenomas, or serrated polyps. These findings support the current guideline recommendations of performing follow-up examinations of individuals with LRAs at least 5 years after the index colonoscopy.