Frequency and type of colorectal tumors in asymptomatic high-risk individuals in families with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer.Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1998 Jul; 7(7):639-41.CE
In hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC, or Lynch syndrome) a close surveillance is usually proposed to high-risk family members with the ultimate goal of reducing cancer incidence and mortality. Through a specialized registry, between 1984 and 1996, we identified 31 families with clinical features of HNPCC. A total of 390 first-degree relatives of affected patients were considered at high risk for colorectal cancer. The main purposes of this study were: (a) to assess overall compliance; and (b) to evaluate the frequency and morphological features of tumors detected at endoscopy. Two hundred twenty-three subjects could be directly interviewed and colonoscopy strongly recommended. Each of the 86 individuals who underwent colonoscopy was matched to a control of the same age (+/-3 years) and sex (control subjects were seeking endoscopy for constipation, rectal bleeding or abdominal discomfort). Of the 390 individuals traced as "at risk," 223 (57.2%) could be contacted, and, of these, 86 (38.6%, or 22.0% of the total) underwent colonoscopy. One or more colorectal lesions were found in 35 of 86 (40.7%) HNPCC asymptomatic family members and in 15 (17.4%; P < 0.001) controls. In the former group, 29 adenomas were detected in 20 individuals as opposed to 11 adenomas in 9 subjects among controls (P < 0.03). Moreover, adenomas in family members were significantly larger [9.1 +/- 5.9 mm (mean +/- SD) versus 5.8 +/- 3.7 mm; P < 0.02] and more frequently showed a tubulovillous histological type and a high degree of dysplasia. Five colorectal carcinomas (in four patients) were detected among cases (four of which were located between the cecum and the hepatic flexure); only one was detected among controls. Surveillance of high-risk subjects in HNPCC families can be carried out only in a fraction of them, because the majority cannot be reached or refuse to collaborate. On the other hand, the frequency of newly detected lesions among family members and the possible aggressive behavior of the lesions render pancolonoscopy necessary at regular intervals of time.