NAFLD Raises Risk for Colorectal Adenomatous Polyps

Megan Brooks

September 07, 2023


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an independent risk factor for precancerous colorectal adenomatous polyps in men and women, according to results of a large study.


  • Researchers conducted a retrospective review of the medical records of adults who underwent abdominal ultrasound and colonoscopy at a single hospital in China from January 2018 to December 2022 to determine NAFLD status and presence of polyps.

  • Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to detect associations between NAFLD and adenomatous and non-adenomatous polyps.


  • Overall, 36.6% of the 3028 patients had adenomatous polyps, 10.7% had non-adenomatous polyps, and 52.7% were polyp-free.

  • The higher frequency of NAFLD was significant in adults with adenomatous polyps (66.9%) but not in patients with non-adenomatous polyps (57%) vs adults with no polyps (52.3%).

  • In the fully adjusted model, NAFLD was a significant independent risk factor for adenomatous polyps (odds ratio [OR], 1.6; P < .0001) but not for non-adenomatous polyps (OR, 1.0; P = .813).

  • The association between NAFLD and adenomatous polyps was statistically significant in both men (OR, 1.8) and women (OR, 1.4).


"Our results clearly demonstrated that NAFLD is associated with the development of colorectal adenomatous polyps in males and females, but is not associated with an increased risk of non-adenomatous polyps. The findings provide new insight into the prevention of colorectal cancer in NAFLD patients," the authors write.


The study was co-led by Yingxue Yang and Yajie Teng, The First People's Hospital of Kunshan, Suzhou, China. It was published online August 23 in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology. The study had no specific funding.


The diagnosis of NAFLD was by ultrasound rather than by liver biopsy. The study’s cross-sectional design precludes conclusions about causality between NAFLD and the risk for colorectal adenomatous polyps. The study involved a single center.


The authors have disclosed no conflicts of interest.

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