The significance of distal colonic hyperplastic polyps was investigated in 482 asymptomatic average-risk subjects, aged 50-75 years, in whom fecal occult blood test results were negative and who underwent screening colonoscopy. The incidence of adenomas in the colon proximal to the sigmoid-descending colon junction in subjects with hyperplastic polyps distal to that point was 18% and was similar to the incidence of proximal colonic adenomas in subjects with no distal colonic polyps (15%). The incidence of proximal colonic adenomas in subjects with distal colonic adenomas was 38% and was significantly greater than the incidence found in individuals with no distal colonic polyps or only hyperplastic polyps. Our data do not support distal colonic hyperplastic polyps as markers for proximal colonic adenomas in asymptomatic average-risk subjects.
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