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Aberrant crypt foci as predictors of colorectal neoplasia on repeat colonoscopy

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To estimate the risk for colorectal neoplasia detected on repeat colonoscopy in relation to aberrant crypt foci (ACF) frequency reported during the previous baseline examination.


From July 2003 until December 2008, patients had a colonoscopy with an ACF study using a magnifying colonoscope. The distal 20 cm section of colon was sprayed with Methylene Blue to ascertain the ACF frequency, the independent variable. Patients were categorized into low and high ACF count using the median as the cut point. Data collected from consenting patients included age, gender, height, weight, ethnicity, smoking history, family history of colorectal cancer (CRC), and personal history of colorectal neoplasia. A follow-up colonoscopy was performed at an interval as dictated by clinical surveillance guidelines. The main outcome was surveillance detected advanced colorectal neoplasia (SDAN) detected on repeat colonoscopy. Logistic Regression was used to calculate risk of SDAN on repeat colonoscopy in relation to baseline ACF count.


74 patients had a baseline ACF exam and a repeat surveillance colonoscopy. The median ACF was six and thus a high ACF count was >6 ACF and a low ACF count was ≤6 ACF. Patients diagnosed with SDAN were more likely to have had a high ACF number at baseline compared to patients without these lesions at follow-up (adjusted odds ratio = 12.27; 95% confidence interval: 2.00–75.25) controlling for age, sex, smoking, history of prior adenoma, family history of colon cancer, obesity, and time interval to surveillance exam. A sub analysis of our results demonstrated that this relationship was observed in 48 patients who were undergoing a surveillance colonoscopy for a previous adenoma and not those receiving surveillance for a family history of neoplasia.


Increased number of ACF in the distal colorectum was independently associated with substantial risk for future advanced neoplasia. This relationship was observed in patients undergoing surveillance for previous adenomas. Thus, ACF may serve as potential biomarkers in patients with adenomas to help identify patients who may need additional surveillance.

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Funded in part by NIH 5R01CA125691 and Connecticut Department of Public Health Biomedical Research Grant DPH 2009-0914.

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Correspondence to Joseph C. Anderson.

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Joseph C Anderson, Joel B. Levine and Daniel W. Rosenberg—Senior authors.

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Anderson, J.C., Swede, H., Rustagi, T. et al. Aberrant crypt foci as predictors of colorectal neoplasia on repeat colonoscopy. Cancer Causes Control 23, 355–361 (2012).

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