Rectum versus colon: should malignant polyps be treated differently?

J. Gemma Solon, Karen Oliva, K. Chip Farmer, Wei Wang, Simon Wilkins, Paul J. McMurrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: The management of malignant colorectal polyps removed at endoscopy remains controversial with patients either undergoing surgical resection or regular endoscopic surveillance. Lymph node (LN) metastases occur in 6–16% of patients with malignant polyps. This study assessed the rate of LN metastases in patients undergoing surgical resection for malignant polyps removed endoscopically to determine if there is a difference in the rate of LN metastases between colonic and rectal polyps. Methods: A retrospective review of a prospectively maintained database was performed from 2010 to 2018. All patients who underwent surgical resection following endoscopic removal of a malignant colorectal polyp were reviewed. Clinical data including patient demographics and tumour characteristics were examined. Results: A total of 177 patients underwent surgical resection in the study period. The median age at diagnosis was 65 years (range 22–88 years) with females comprising 52% of the patient cohort (n = 92/177). Polyps were located in the colon in 60.5% of cases with the remainder located in the rectum. The median number of LN harvested was 14 (range 0–44) with malignant LN (including a mesenteric tumour deposit) identified in 8.5% of resection specimens (n = 15/177). Malignant LNs were retrieved in 5.5% of right-sided tumours, 5.6% of left-sided tumours and 12.9% of rectal tumours (P = 0.090). Conclusion: A small proportion of patients with malignant polyps removed endoscopically will have LN metastases. The results of this study suggest that the tumour location might be a useful predictive marker; however, a further study with increased patient numbers is required to properly establish this finding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-931
Number of pages5
JournalANZ Journal of Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • colorectal
  • malignant
  • management
  • polyp

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