Original Research1 September 2015
A Cross-sectional Study
    Author, Article, and Disclosure Information



    Several methods are recommended equally strongly for colorectal cancer screening in average-risk persons. Risk stratification would enable tailoring of screening within this group, with less invasive tests (sigmoidoscopy or occult blood tests) for lower-risk persons and colonoscopy for higher-risk persons.


    To create a risk index for advanced neoplasia (colorectal cancer and adenomas or serrated polyps ≥1.0 cm, villous histology, or high-grade dysplasia) anywhere in the colorectum, using the most common risk factors for colorectal neoplasia.


    Cross-sectional study.


    Multiple endoscopy units, primarily in the Midwest.


    Persons aged 50 to 80 years undergoing initial screening colonoscopy (December 2004 to September 2011).


    Derivation and validation of a risk index based on points from regression coefficients for age, sex, waist circumference, cigarette smoking, and family history of colorectal cancer.


    Among 2993 persons in the derivation set, prevalence of advanced neoplasia was 9.4%. Risks for advanced neoplasia in persons at very low, low, intermediate, and high risk were 1.92% (95% CI, 0.63% to 4.43%), 4.88% (CI, 3.79% to 6.18%), 9.93% (CI, 8.09% to 12.0%), and 24.9% (CI, 21.1% to 29.1%), respectively ( P  < 0.001). Sigmoidoscopy to the descending colon in the low-risk groups would have detected 51 of 70 (73% [CI, 61% to 83%]) advanced neoplasms. Among 1467 persons in the validation set, corresponding risks for advanced neoplasia were 1.65% (CI, 0.20% to 5.84%), 3.31% (CI, 2.08% to 4.97%), 10.9% (CI, 8.26% to 14.1%), and 22.3% (CI, 16.9% to 28.5%), respectively (P < 0.001). Sigmoidoscopy would have detected 21 of 24 (87.5% [CI, 68% to 97%]) advanced neoplasms.


    Split-sample validation; results apply to first-time screening.


    This index stratifies risk for advanced neoplasia among average-risk persons by identifying lower-risk groups for which noncolonoscopy strategies may be effective and efficient and a higher-risk group for which colonoscopy may be preferred.

    Primary Funding Source:

    National Cancer Institute, Walther Cancer Institute, Indiana University Simon Cancer Center, and Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.


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