Low Incidence of Colorectal Advanced Neoplasia During Surveillance in Individuals with a Family History of Colorectal Cancer

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Background: Family history of colorectal cancer (CRC) is used to stratify individuals into risk categories which determine timing of initial screening and ongoing CRC surveillance. Evidence for long-term CRC risk following a normal index colonoscopy in family history populations is limited. 

Aims: To assess the incidence of advanced neoplasia and associated risk factors in a population undergoing surveillance colonoscopies due to family history of CRC. 

Methods: Surveillance colonoscopy findings were examined in 425 individuals with a family history of CRC, a normal index colonoscopy and a minimum of 10 years of follow-up colonoscopies. Advanced neoplasia risk was determined for three CRC family history categories (near-average, medium and high-risk), accounting for demographics and time after the first colonoscopy. 

Results: The median follow-up was 13.5 years (IQR 11.5–16.0), with an incidence of advanced neoplasia of 14.35% (61/425). The number of affected relatives and age of CRC diagnosis in the youngest relative did not predict the risk of advanced neoplasia (p > 0.05), with no significant differences in advanced neoplasia incidence between the family history categories (p = 0.16). Patients ≥ 60 years showed a fourfold (HR 4.14, 95% CI 1.33–12.89) higher advanced neoplasia risk during surveillance than those < 40 years at index colonoscopy. With each subsequent negative colonoscopy, the risk of advanced neoplasia at ongoing surveillance was reduced. 

Conclusions: The incidence of advanced neoplasia was low (14.35%), regardless of the family history risk category, with older age being the main risk for advanced neoplasia. Delaying onset of colonoscopy or lengthening surveillance intervals could be a more efficient use of resources in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4243-4251
Number of pages9
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number11
Early online date8 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • Advanced neoplasia
  • Bowel cancer
  • Adenoma
  • Family history
  • Colorectal cancer surveillance


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