Colorectal cancer prevention in patients with ulcerative colitis

Anthony Lopez, Lieven Pouillon, Laurent Beaugerie, Silvio Danese

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Ulcerative colitis is characterized by chronic inflammation, which may lead to the accumulation of high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines within the colonic mucosa, and thus to dysplastic lesions and cancer. Although the trend is decreasing, ulcerative colitis patients still have a 2.4 fold higher risk of colorectal cancer compared to the general population. The key task is to control colonic inflammation, and a rapid step-up approach while closely monitoring intestinal inflammation are recommented. Surveillance colonoscopy program demonstrated its efficacy for reducing the incidence of colorectal cancer in ulcerative colitis. The impact of medication on the reduction of colorectal cancer risk was hardly investigated and it remains unclear whether they have intrinsic anti-neoplastic properties or only downregulate inflammatory pathways. Several studies showed a decreased risk of colorectal cancer in ulcerative colitis patients treated with 5-aminosalicylic acid and chemoprevention with mesalamine compounds is currently recommended. The current level of evidence is too low for thiopurines and anti-TNFα agents. Large, prospective cohort studies are ongoing and are likely to bring new findings about the impact of drugs on colorectal cancer risk in the current era of biologics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-109
Number of pages7
JournalBest Practice and Research: Clinical Gastroenterology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2018


  • 5-ASA
  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Dysplasia
  • Prevention
  • Thiopurines
  • Ulcerative colitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Colorectal cancer prevention in patients with ulcerative colitis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this