Disparities in prevalence, location, and shape characteristics of colorectal neoplasia between South Korean and U.S. patients


      Colon cancer screening is being introduced in many countries, but standard Western screening approaches may not be appropriate for Asian societies if differences in colon cancer epidemiology exist. Comparative analysis of colorectal neoplasia patterns in South Korean and Western subjects has implications for appropriate screening approaches in non-Western societies.


      The results of concurrent screening colonoscopies performed in average-risk patients 50 to 69 years old in 2 teaching hospitals, Kyung Hee University Hospital (Seoul, South Korea) and Virginia Mason Medical Center (Seattle, Wash), were compared with respect to prevalence, histologic features, anatomic distribution, and shape characteristics of colorectal neoplasia.


      The U.S. (n = 3460) and South Korean (n = 2193) cohorts were similar with regard to the prevalence of adenomas (28.5% vs 29.8%, respectively, P = .312) and advanced neoplasia (6.4% vs 5.4%, respectively, P = .102), but the proportion of proximal adenomas was greater in the U.S. cohort (62.8% vs 45.9%, P < .001). The prevalence of adenomas and advanced neoplasia was similar in male patients, but there was a greater prevalence of neoplasia (23.5% vs 18.8%, P = .006) and advanced neoplasia (5.1% vs 2.7%, P < .001) in U.S. women than South Korean women. When large (≥10 mm) adenomas were considered, proximal location and nonpolypoid (flat) shape were more common in the U.S. cohort (79.4% vs 37.1%, P = .003 and 43.5% vs 12.3%, P < .001, respectively). The overall prevalence of large flat adenomas in the U.S. cohort was 5 times that of the South Korean cohort (2.6% vs 0.5%, P < .001). Adjustment for sex ratio discrepancies (48.3% men in the U.S. cohort vs 60.8% in the South Korean cohort, P < .001) did not result in any significant changes in the conclusions.


      Compared with Westerners, South Koreans have a more distal distribution of adenomas and advanced neoplasia and lower prevalence of large flat adenomas. South Korean women have a lower prevalence of colorectal neoplasia than Western women. Such disparities suggest that Western screening strategies cannot be directly adopted by other countries, but need to be customized by society.


      CRC (colorectal cancer), GDKHUH (Gang Dong Kyung Hee University Hospital), VMMC (Virginia Mason Medical Center)
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