News Release

Incomplete polyp removal strongly associated with postcolonoscopy colorectal cancer

Embargoed news from Annals of Internal Medicine

Peer-Reviewed Publication

American College of Physicians

Below please find summaries of new articles that will be published in the next issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. The summaries are not intended to substitute for the full articles as a source of information. This information is under strict embargo and by taking it into possession, media representatives are committing to the terms of the embargo not only on their own behalf, but also on behalf of the organization they represent.
Incomplete polyp removal strongly associated with postcolonoscopy colorectal cancer
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A multicenter cohort study found that incomplete polyp removal, or polyp removal where neoplastic tissue is found in any of the marginal biopsies, is a likely contributor to neoplasia recurrence and interval colorectal cancer. The results highlight the critical importance of polyp resection technique in efforts to improve colonoscopy quality. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Incomplete polyp resection has been estimated to account for up to 30 percent of all post-colonoscopy colorectal cancer. Cancer is considered to be the result of incomplete resection if it is found in a colon segment with a previous clinically significant polyp. However, there is no standard definition of a clinically significant polyp and there are no data on the natural history of polyps that were incompletely removed.

Researchers from the VA Medical Center studied medical records for 233 participants in the Complete Adenoma REsection (CARE) study to examine the risk for metachronous neoplasia during surveillance colonoscopy after documented incomplete polyp resection. Patients with a documented incomplete polyp resection on the marginal biopsies were recommended to have a surveillance examination within 1 year. All other patients were provided with surveillance recommendations per endoscopists based on current guidelines. Of 233 participants in the original study, 166 (71%) had at least 1 surveillance examination. The researchers found that incomplete segments (those with a prior incompletely removed polyp) were more likely to have metachronous neoplasia than complete segments (52% vs 23%), and also more likely to harbor advanced neoplasia (18% vs 3%). Moreover, incomplete resection was the strongest independent factor associated with metachronous neoplasia.

According to the authors, these findings suggest that further work to improve polypectomy technique through training and quality assurance type monitoring is warranted.

Media contacts: For an embargoed PDF, please contact Angela Collom at To speak with the lead author, Heiko Pohl, MD, please contact Katherine Tang at
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