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      Colonoscopic Polypectomy and Long-Term Prevention of Colorectal-Cancer Deaths

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          Abstract

          In the National Polyp Study (NPS), colorectal cancer was prevented by colonoscopic removal of adenomatous polyps. We evaluated the long-term effect of colonoscopic polypectomy in a study on mortality from colorectal cancer. We included in this analysis all patients prospectively referred for initial colonoscopy (between 1980 and 1990) at NPS clinical centers who had polyps (adenomas and nonadenomas). The National Death Index was used to identify deaths and to determine the cause of death; follow-up time was as long as 23 years. Mortality from colorectal cancer among patients with adenomas removed was compared with the expected incidence-based mortality from colorectal cancer in the general population, as estimated from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program, and with the observed mortality from colorectal cancer among patients with nonadenomatous polyps (internal control group). Among 2602 patients who had adenomas removed during participation in the study, after a median of 15.8 years, 1246 patients had died from any cause and 12 had died from colorectal cancer. Given an estimated 25.4 expected deaths from colorectal cancer in the general population, the standardized incidence-based mortality ratio was 0.47 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.26 to 0.80) with colonoscopic polypectomy, suggesting a 53% reduction in mortality. Mortality from colorectal cancer was similar among patients with adenomas and those with nonadenomatous polyps during the first 10 years after polypectomy (relative risk, 1.2; 95% CI, 0.1 to 10.6). These findings support the hypothesis that colonoscopic removal of adenomatous polyps prevents death from colorectal cancer. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and others.).

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          Most cited references 48

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          Prevention of colorectal cancer by colonoscopic polypectomy. The National Polyp Study Workgroup.

          The current practice of removing adenomatous polyps of the colon and rectum is based on the belief that this will prevent colorectal cancer. To address the hypothesis that colonoscopic polypectomy reduces the incidence of colorectal cancer, we analyzed the results of the National Polyp Study with reference to other published results. The study cohort consisted of 1418 patients who had a complete colonoscopy during which one or more adenomas of the colon or rectum were removed. The patients subsequently underwent periodic colonoscopy during an average follow-up of 5.9 years, and the incidence of colorectal cancer was ascertained. The incidence rate of colorectal cancer was compared with that in three reference groups, including two cohorts in which colonic polyps were not removed and one general-population registry, after adjustment for sex, age, and polyp size. Ninety-seven percent of the patients were followed clinically for a total of 8401 person-years, and 80 percent returned for one or more of their scheduled colonoscopies. Five asymptomatic early-stage colorectal cancers (malignant polyps) were detected by colonoscopy (three at three years, one at six years, and one at seven years). No symptomatic cancers were detected. The numbers of colorectal cancers expected on the basis of the rates in the three reference groups were 48.3, 43.4, and 20.7, for reductions in the incidence of colorectal cancer of 90, 88, and 76 percent, respectively (P < 0.001). Colonoscopic polypectomy resulted in a lower-than-expected incidence of colorectal cancer. These results support the view that colorectal adenomas progress to adenocarcinomas, as well as the current practice of searching for and removing adenomatous polyps to prevent colorectal cancer.
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            Annual report to the nation on the status of cancer, 1975-2006, featuring colorectal cancer trends and impact of interventions (risk factors, screening, and treatment) to reduce future rates.

            The American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) collaborate annually to provide updated information regarding cancer occurrence and trends in the United States. This year's report includes trends in colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence and death rates and highlights the use of microsimulation modeling as a tool for interpreting past trends and projecting future trends to assist in cancer control planning and policy decisions. Information regarding invasive cancers was obtained from the NCI, CDC, and NAACCR; and information on deaths was obtained from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. Annual percentage changes in the age-standardized incidence and death rates (based on the year 2000 US population standard) for all cancers combined and for the top 15 cancers were estimated by joinpoint analysis of long-term trends (1975-2006) and for short-term fixed-interval trends (1997-2006). All statistical tests were 2-sided. Both incidence and death rates from all cancers combined significantly declined (P < .05) in the most recent time period for men and women overall and for most racial and ethnic populations. These decreases were driven largely by declines in both incidence and death rates for the 3 most common cancers in men (ie, lung and prostate cancers and CRC) and for 2 of the 3 leading cancers in women (ie, breast cancer and CRC). The long-term trends for lung cancer mortality in women had smaller and smaller increases until 2003, when there was a change to a nonsignificant decline. Microsimulation modeling demonstrates that declines in CRC death rates are consistent with a relatively large contribution from screening and with a smaller but demonstrable impact of risk factor reductions and improved treatments. These declines are projected to continue if risk factor modification, screening, and treatment remain at current rates, but they could be accelerated further with favorable trends in risk factors and higher utilization of screening and optimal treatment. Although the decrease in overall cancer incidence and death rates is encouraging, rising incidence and mortality for some cancers are of concern. Copyright 2009 American Cancer Society.
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              Reducing mortality from colorectal cancer by screening for fecal occult blood. Minnesota Colon Cancer Control Study.

              Although tests for occult blood in the feces are widely used to screen for colorectal cancers, there is no conclusive evidence that they reduce mortality from this cause. We evaluated a fecal occult-blood test in a randomized trial and documented its effectiveness. We randomly assigned 46,551 participants 50 to 80 years of age to screening for colorectal cancer once a year, to screening every two years, or to a control group. Participants who were screened submitted six guaiac-impregnated paper slides with two smears from each of three consecutive stools. About 83 percent of the slides were rehydrated. Participants who tested positive underwent a diagnostic evaluation that included colonoscopy. Vital status was ascertained for all study participants during 13 years of follow-up. A committee determined causes of death. A single pathologist determined the stage of each tissue specimen. Differences in mortality from colorectal cancer, the primary study end point, were monitored with the sequential log-rank statistic. The 13-year cumulative mortality per 1000 from colorectal cancer was 5.88 in the annually screened group (95 percent confidence interval, 4.61 to 7.15), 8.33 in the biennially screened group (95 percent confidence interval, 6.82 to 9.84), and 8.83 in the control group (95 percent confidence interval, 7.26 to 10.40). The rate in the annually screened group, but not in the biennially screened group, was significantly lower than that in the control group. Reduced mortality in the annually screened group was accompanied by improved survival in those with colorectal cancer and a shift to detection at an earlier stage of cancer. Annual fecal occult-blood testing with rehydration of the samples decreased the 13-year cumulative mortality from colorectal cancer by 33 percent.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                February 23 2012
                February 23 2012
                : 366
                : 8
                : 687-696
                Article
                10.1056/NEJMoa1100370
                3322371
                22356322
                © 2012
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