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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 21, Issue 4, Pages 233-239
Invited Review

Colonic Polyps in Children and Adolescents

Carol A Durno

Familial Gastrointestinal Cancer Registry and Department of Surgery, Mount Sinai Hospital; Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Department of Paediatrics, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Received 21 June 2006; Accepted 21 June 2006

Copyright © 2007 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Colonic polyps most commonly present with rectal bleeding in children. The isolated juvenile polyp is the most frequent kind of polyp identified in children. ‘Juvenile’ refers to the histological type of polyp and not the age of onset of the polyp. Adolescents and adults with multiple juvenile polyps are at a significant risk of intestinal cancer. The challenge for adult and pediatric gastroenterologists is determining the precise risk of colorectal cancer in patients with juvenile polyposis syndrome. Attenuated familial adenamatous polyposis (AFAP) can occur either by a mutation at the extreme ends of the adenomatous polyposis coli gene or by biallelic mutations in the mutY homologue (MYH) gene. The identification of MYH-associated polyposis as an autosomal recessive condition has important implications for screening and management strategies. Adult and pediatric gastroenterologists need to be aware of the underlying inheritance patterns of polyposis syndromes so that patients and their families can be adequately evaluated and managed. Colonic polyps, including isolated juvenile polyps, juvenile polyposis syndrome, FAP, AFAP and MYH-associated polyposis, are discussed in the present review.