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Prognostic significance of high-grade dysplasia in colorectal adenomas


Adam D. Toll MD, Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, 132 South 10th Street, 285 Main Building, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA.


Aim  Colonoscopy to detect and remove polyps has contributed to a reduction in colorectal carcinoma. Three-year follow up is recommended for patients considered to be at high risk (at least three adenomas, adenoma ≥ 1 cm, villous or high-grade features). Our study focused on patients diagnosed with high-grade dysplasia with regard to initial management and follow up.

Method  A search of patients who had had endoscopic removal of a high-grade adenoma was carried out. Patients with the following were excluded: follow up of < 1 year, polyposis syndromes, prior colon cancer and a diagnosis of adenocarcinoma within 6 months following initial diagnosis.

Results  Eighty-three patients treated between 1999 and 2007 for high-grade dysplasia (HGD) in a colorectal adenoma were identified. Over a median follow-up period of 4 years, 53 (64%) developed further adenomatous polyps. Among these, 7% had an adenoma with HGD or an adenocarcinoma. In all these patients, the initial high-grade adenoma was > 1 cm in diameter. Initial follow-up colonoscopy was performed on average 7 months following the initial diagnosis. Ten per cent of patients underwent prophylactic segmental resection, and 6% received argon laser therapy.

Conclusion  The study demonstrates that patients who have a colorectal adenoma > 1 cm with HGD may be at high risk of developing further adenomas with HGD or carcinoma. Close follow up is warranted.