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Number of Adenomas Removed and Colorectal Cancers Prevented in Randomized Trials of Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Screening.

  • Pinsky, Paul F1
  • Loberg, Magnus2
  • Senore, Carlo3
  • Wooldrage, Kate4
  • Atkin, Wendy4
  • Bretthauer, Michael5
  • Cross, Amanda J4
  • Hoff, Geir6
  • Holme, Oyvind7
  • Kalager, Mette2
  • Segnan, Nereo3
  • Schoen, Robert E8
  • 1 Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland. Electronic address: [email protected].
  • 2 University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway. , (Norway)
  • 3 University Hospital, Turin, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 4 Imperial College London, London, UK.
  • 5 University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; Frontier Science Foundation, Boston, Massachusetts. , (Norway)
  • 6 Telemark Hospital, Skien, Norway. , (Norway)
  • 7 University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; Sorlandet Hospital, Kristiansand, Norway. , (Norway)
  • 8 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Published Article
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2018
DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2018.06.040
PMID: 29935150


Screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) with sigmoidoscopy reduces CRC incidence by detecting and removing adenomas. The number needed to screen is a measure of screening efficiency, but is not directly associated with adenoma removal. We propose the following 2 new metrics for quantifying the relationship between adenoma removal and CRC prevented: number of adenomas needed to remove (NNR) and adenoma dwell time avoided (DTA). We collected data from 4 randomized trials of sigmoidoscopy screening (1 in the United States and 3 in Europe) to assess NNR and DTA. For each trial, NNR was computed as the number of adenomas removed from subjects in the intervention group, divided by the number of CRCs prevented. DTA was computed similarly but taking into account the timing of adenoma removal. Combined results across trials were assessed using standard meta-analytic techniques. The estimated NNR for the PLCO (Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian) trial was 74 (95% confidence interval [CI], 56-110), for the NORCCAP (Norwegian Colorectal Cancer Prevention) trial was 71 (95% CI, 44-174), for the SCORE (Screening for Colon Rectum) trial was 27 (95% CI, 14-135), and for the UKFSST (UK Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Screening Trial) was 36 (95% CI, 28-52). The combined estimate (meta-analysis) of NNR was 52 (95% CI, 36-93) assuming heterogeneity (P for heterogeneity = .014). DTA estimates among trials ranged from 278 to 730 years, with a combined estimate of 500 (95% CI, 344-833) years assuming heterogeneity (P for heterogeneity = .035), or 2 CRC cases prevented per 1000 adenoma dwell years avoided. The combined estimates of NNR and DTA restricted to advanced adenomas were 13 (95% CI, 9-22) and 122 (95% CI, 90-190) years, respectively. We collected data from 4 randomized trials of sigmoidoscopy screening for CRC to develop metrics of endoscopic efficiency, NNR and DTA, which are directly linked to adenoma detection and removal. They can be used to compare screening among endoscopic modalities and to more precisely measure adenoma to carcinoma transition rates. Copyright © 2018 AGA Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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