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Original research
Risk stratification for colorectal cancer in individuals with subtypes of serrated polyps


Objective The longitudinal risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) associated with subtypes of serrated polyps (SPs) remains incompletely understood.

Design This community-based, case–control study included 317 178 Kaiser Permanente Northern California members who underwent their first colonoscopy during 2006–2016. Nested within this population, we identified 695 cases of CRC and 3475 CRC-free controls (matched 5:1 to cases for age, sex and year of colonoscopy). Two expert pathologists reviewed the tissue slides of all SPs identified on the first colonoscopy and reclassified them to sessile serrated lesions (SSLs), hyperplastic polyps (HPs) and traditional serrated adenomas. SPs with borderline characteristics of SSLs but insufficient to make a definitive diagnosis were categorised as unspecified SPs. The association with development of CRC was assessed using multivariable logistic regression.

Results Compared with individuals with no polyp, the adjusted ORs (aORs) for SSL alone or with synchronous adenoma were 2.9 (95% CI: 1.8 to 4.8) and 4.4 (95% CI: 2.7 to 7.2), respectively. The aORs for SSL with dysplasia, large proximal SSL,and small proximal SSL were 10.3 (95% CI: 2.1 to 50.3), 12.8 (95% CI: 3.5 to 46.9) and 1.9 (95% CI: 0.8 to 4.7), respectively. Proximal unspecified SP also conferred an increased risk (aOR: 5.8, 95% CI: 2.2 to 15.2). Women with SSL were associated with higher risk (aOR: 4.4; 95% CI: 2.3 to 8.2) than men (aOR: 1.7; 95% CI: 0.8 to 3.8).

Conclusion Increased risk of CRC was observed in individuals with SSLs, particularly large proximal ones or with dysplasia, supporting close endoscopic surveillance. Proximal unspecified SPs were also associated with increased risk of CRC and should be managed as SSLs.

  • colorectal cancer
  • surveillance
  • cancer prevention

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Additional information relevant to this study is available upon request.

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