BACKGROUND: Although sulindac is known to cause regression of colorectal adenomatous polyps in familial adenomatous polyposis, less is known about the effect of sulindac on sporadic adenomas. The precise mechanisms of these effects also remain to be determined. AIMS: Sulindac was given to patients with sporadic colorectal adenomatous polyps to evaluate its effects on them, and histological analysis was performed to elucidate the mechanism of the polyp regression, as well the kind of adenomatous polys that are susceptible to the agent. SUBJECTS: 20 adenomatous polyps in 15 patients were studied. METHODS: Sulindac (300 mg daily) was given for four months, followed by colonoscopy with removal of the residual polyps. Polyp size, degree of atypia, inflammatory cell infiltration in the polyps, and immunostaining for mutant p53 product were evaluated before and after treatment. RESULTS: 13 of the 20 polyps shrank or disappeared. Patient sex, polyp location, size, degree of atypia, or p53 mutation did not affect the response, but polyps in older patients were more sensitive to sulindac. The degree of atypia or inflammatory cell infiltration was not affected by the treatment. A polyp containing a focal cancer was unresponsive. CONCLUSIONS: Sulindac can cause regression of sporadic colorectal adenomatous polyps.
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