Original Article—Alimentary Tract

Journal of Gastroenterology

, Volume 47, Issue 12, pp 1308-1322

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Age at diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease influences early development of colorectal cancer in inflammatory bowel disease patients: a nationwide, long-term survey

  • J. E. BaarsAffiliated withDepartment of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Erasmus MC Email author 
  • , E. J. KuipersAffiliated withDepartment of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Erasmus MCDepartment of Internal Medicine, Erasmus MC
  • , M. van HaastertAffiliated withDepartment of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Martini Hospital
  • , J. J. NicolaïAffiliated withDepartment of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Haga Hospital
  • , A. C. PoenAffiliated withDepartment of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Isala Clinics
  • , C. J. van der WoudeAffiliated withDepartment of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Erasmus MC



Data on clinical characteristics of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)-related colorectal cancer (CRC) are scarce and mainly originate from tertiary referral centres. We studied patient and disease characteristics of IBD-related CRC in a nationwide IBD cohort in general hospitals. Main outcome parameters were time to develop CRC, and factors associated with early CRC development.


All IBD patients diagnosed with CRC between 1 January 1990 and 1 July 2006 were identified using a nationwide automated pathology database (PALGA). Patient charts were assessed to confirm diagnosis and collect clinical data. Early CRC was defined as CRC diagnosed less than 8 years after IBD diagnosis. Statistical analysis was performed using descriptive statistics, independent t tests, binary logistic regression and Cox-regression analysis.


Diagnosis of IBD-related CRC was confirmed in 251 patients (171 ulcerative colitis, 77 Crohn’s disease, 3 unclassified colitis), 161 males (64 %). Median time from IBD diagnosis to CRC diagnosis was 12 years (IQR 4–20); 89 patients (35 %) developed early CRC. Type of IBD, gender, concomitant PSC, pseudopolyps, extent of inflammation, and medication use were not related to early CRC (p > 0.05). IBD diagnosis at older age (HR for 10 years older age 2.25; 95 % CI 1.92–2.63) was related to early CRC. Twenty-three patients (12 %) had been included in a surveillance programme prior to CRC diagnosis. Patients in the surveillance group had a significantly better tumor stage (p = 0.004).


We emphasize the problem of a high proportion of IBD-associated CRCs developing before the recommended start of surveillance. Therefore, we suggest that older age at IBD onset could be an additional factor to start surveillance in IBD patients.


Ulcerative colitis Crohn’s disease Colorectal carcinoma Risk factor