Article : Colonoscopy for Women with History of Breast Cancer: How Often?

Douglas K. Rex, MD reviewing Lai JH et al. Gastrointest Endosc 2017 Apr 20.

A meta-analysis indicates there's no need to decrease the interval between colonoscopies or other forms of screening.

Women with a history of breast cancer are often concerned about developing second malignancies. Numerous studies have addressed the risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) in breast cancer patients, and no current guidelines recommend that they receive earlier or more frequent CRC screening.

To determine the prevalence of CRC in women with breast cancer, investigators performed a meta-analysis and systematic review of 37 retrospective cohort studies and 8 case-control studies involving more than 1 million women with breast cancer, of whom more than 9000 had incident CRC.

A random-effects model showed that the pooled event rate for CRC in the retrospective studies was significantly lower for women with breast cancer (0.7%). In the case-control studies, breast cancer patients have nonsignificantly higher risks for CRC (odds ratio, 1.2) and advanced adenomas (OR, 1.5). The only increased CRC risk was in patients diagnosed with breast cancer before age 45 or 50 (OR for both, 2.5).


Lai JH et al. Association between breast cancer and the risk of colorectal cancer: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Gastrointest Endosc 2017 Apr 20; [e-pub].