One hundred fifty-one patients with colorectal polyps containing invasive adenocarcinoma treated by resection were studied to determine the incidence of lymph node metastasis and whether lymph node metastasis was related to the depth of invasion. Other variables evaluated included size and configuration of the polyp, grade of adenocarcinoma, presence or absence of lymphovascular invasion, and degree of differentiation. In patients with sessile polyps, the incidence of lymph node metastasis was 10 percent. Eighty percent of these lesions had lymphovascular invasion. For pedunculated polyps, the overall incidence of lymph node metastasis was 6 percent. However, there was no incidence of lymph node metastasis when the depth of invasion was limited to the head, neck, and stalk of the polyp (Levels 1, 2, and 3). Only when the depth of invasion reached to the base of the stalk (Level 4) was the risk of lymph node metastasis high (27 percent). The other risk factors were not associated with lymph node metastasis. We concluded that the most significant risk factor for lymph node metastasis in patients with invasive carcinoma in a polyp was invasion into the submucosa of the bowel wall (Level 4).