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18-01-2011 | Gastroenterology | Article

Colonoscopy with polypectomy significantly reduces CRC risk


Free abstract

MedWire News: Colonoscopy with polypectomy is associated with a strongly reduced risk for developing colorectal cancer (CRC), say German researchers.

Hermann Brenner (German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg) and colleagues assessed links between previous colonoscopy and risk for developing CRC in 1688 patients with CRC and 1932 controls without CRC who were aged 50 years or older.

They found that patients who had undergone colonoscopy in the previous 10 years (230 cases, 793 controls), with polypectomy if necessary, were 77% less likely to develop CRC than those who had not.

When the team divided the risks by type of CRC, colonoscopy in the previous 10 years reduced the risks for any, right-sided, and left-sided CRC by 77%, 56%, and 84%, respectively.

Brenner and co-workers note that colonoscopy was associated with a strong and significant risk reduction for all cancer stages in all age groups, except patients aged 50-59 years with right-sided CRC who had a nonsignificant 26% reduction in risk associated with prior colonoscopy.

"Our study adds to the increasing evidence that colonoscopy, with removal of colorectal adenomas, may substantially reduce CRC incidence," write the authors in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"Our results further suggest that major reduction may also be achieved for right-sided CRC, even in the community setting, when widespread offer of colonoscopy is paired with major efforts in terms of training and quality assurance."

Editorialist David Weinberg (Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) said that "this study highlights the role of the endoscopist in the production of the most beneficial results."

He added: "Understanding why colonoscopy is less effective in the proximal colon will take time. However, it would be a mistake to conclude that 'less effective' is the same as 'ineffective'.

"Brenner and colleagues' results offer reassurance that colonoscopy can provide substantial protection against right- and left-sided CRC."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Helen Albert

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