Does Increased Adenoma Detection Reduce the Risk of Colorectal Cancer, and How Good Do We Need to Be?

Christen K. Dilly, Charles J. Kahi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Purpose of Review: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is largely preventable with colonoscopy and other screening modalities. However, the effectiveness of screening and surveillance depends on the quality of the colonoscopy exam. Adenoma detection rate (ADR) is the best-validated metric by which we measure individual physicians’ performance. Recent Findings: Recent evidence suggests that ADR benchmarks may be inappropriately low. There is proof that improving ADR leads to significant reductions in post-colonoscopy CRC (PCCRC). Two studies have demonstrated that when a colonoscopy is performed by physicians with higher ADRs, patients are less likely to have advanced adenomas on surveillance and less likely to develop or die from PCCRC. Finally, there is at least some evidence that higher ADRs do not lead to more cumulative surveillance exams. Summary: The ADR is a useful outcome measure that can provide individual endoscopists and their patients with information about the likelihood of developing PCCRC. To achieve the lowest possible PCCRC rate, we should be striving for higher ADRs. While strategies and innovations may help a bit in improving ADRs, our efforts should focus on ensuring a complete mucosal exam for each patient. Behavioral psychology theories may provide useful frameworks for studying motivating factors that drive a careful exam.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9
JournalCurrent gastroenterology reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019


  • Colorectal neoplasms
  • Quality
  • Screening; colonoscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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