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Smoking May Double Risk of Colorectal Adenomas

Research suggests current and former smokers would benefit from colon cancer screening

THURSDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Current smokers may have more than double the risk of developing adenomatous polyps of the colon, the precursor lesion to colorectal cancer, than non-smokers, according to the results of a meta-analysis published in Gastroenterology in February.

Edoardo Botteri, of the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy, and colleagues performed a meta-analysis of studies investigating the association between smoking and adenomatous polyps in order to determine a pooled risk estimate of the association and to investigate differences in study populations, study designs and clinical features of the polyps. The investigators included 42 observational studies in their analysis, representing over 15,000 cases and 100,000 controls.

The pooled risk estimate of adenomatous polyps for current smokers was 2.14, and 1.47 and 1.82 in former and ever smokers, respectively. The association was stronger for high-risk adenomas, suggesting smoking impacts the aggressiveness of adenomas. Studies that required controls to undergo full colonoscopy reported higher smoking-related adenoma risk than studies involving partial colon examinations.

"In conclusion, this meta-analysis provides strong evidence for the detrimental effect of cigarette smoking on the development of adenomatous polyps. Because risk was significantly greater for high-risk adenomas, smoking may be important for both the formation and aggressiveness of adenomas," the authors conclude.

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