, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 611-615

Is Colonoscopy Alone Sufficient to Screen for Ulcerative Colitis-associated Colorectal Carcinoma?

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Patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) are at increased risk for colorectal carcinoma (CAC). Despite the fact that patients at risk are followed closely by colonoscopy to screen for dysplasia, the prevalence of CAC is still unacceptably high. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of risk factors for CAC, such as dysplasia, and to determine the relevance of colonoscopic surveillance in the group who went on to develop cancer. A series of 24 patients with UC were diagnosed with CAC. The patients’ records were analyzed retrospectively for duration of UC, prevalence of preoperative dysplasia, and other cancer risk factors (CRFs) (e.g., pancolitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, early onset of UC, and backwash ileitis). The mean age of the patients at the time of cancer diagnosis was 43 years with an average UC duration of 15 years (6 patients had had UC less than 8 years). CAC was identified preoperatively by colonoscopy in 15 of 24 patients, with an additional 7 of 15 showing flat dysplasia. Five of nine patients without preoperatively diagnosed CAC had flat dysplasia. Overall, 19 patients had additional CRFs, most of them with at least two more CRFs. Despite a regular colonoscopic follow-up for most patients with UC, flat dysplasia was missed in 12 patients preoperatively. Therefore we suggest that patient information should also always include surgical options in each case where significant cancer risk factors are found.

Electronic Publication