Current management of inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer

Mark C. Mattar, Denver Lough, Michael J. Pishvaian, Aline Charabaty

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) can be divided into two major disorders: ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Although IBD-associated colorectal cancer (IBD-CRC) accounts for only 1-2% of all cases of colorectal cancer, IBD with colon involvement is among the top three high-risk conditions for colorectal cancer. Today, colorectal cancer accounts for approximately 10-15% of all deaths among IBD patients. Indeed, patients with IBD colitis are six times more likely to develop colorectal cancer than the general population and have a higher frequency of multiple synchronous colorectal cancers. Since IBD-CRC was first described in 1925, the colon remains the primary site of neoplasms in IBD patients today. Ulcerative colitis-associated colorectal cancer is most common in the rectum and sigmoid colon, whereas Crohn's disease-associated colorectal cancer is evenly distributed between the different colon segments. Chemoprevention of colorectal cancer remains an important goal, and colonoscopy surveillance programs are critical to early detection in these patients. Newer methods, such as chromoendoscopy, are currently being investigated as complementary techniques to enhance early detection of dysplasia and cancer in this high-risk population. We present a comprehensive review of the relationship between inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer. Major themes covered include risk factors for IBD-CRC and the molecular pathobiology of progression from dysplasia to cancer, endoscopic surveillance and new methods for early detection of dysplasia, approaches to prevention of IBD-CRC, and current recommendations and controversies regarding the treatment of dysplasia. In particular, disagreement has arisen over optimal management of low-grade dysplasia, with some IBD experts now advocating close colonoscopic surveillance of patients with low-grade dysplasia rather then total colectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-61
Number of pages9
JournalGastrointestinal Cancer Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Gastroenterology


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