Patients diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC) are known to be at an increased risk of colorectal and liver cancers and leukemia. UC is an autoimmune disease, which may present a wider spectrum of cancers. We wanted to examine the risk of cancer in a large population of UC patients in order to reach high statistical power. A UC research database was constructed by identifying UC patients from the Swedish Hospital Discharge Register and cancer patients from the Cancer Registry. Follow-up of 27,606 UC patients hospitalized for the first time during the years 1964-2004 identified 2,058 patients with cancer. Standardized incidence ratios were calculated for cancer in UC patients by comparing to subjects without hospitalization for UC. The novel tumor sites in UC patients included small intestinal (carcinoid), pancreatic, breast and prostate cancers, nonthyroid endocrine gland tumors, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma. A total of 11 sites showed an increased risk, which remained at 6 sites when tumors diagnosed in the year of UC hospitalization were excluded; even chronic myeloid leukemia was in excess. Cancer risks depended on the age at first hospitalization for UC. The SIRs for colon, rectal, liver and pancreatic cancers declined by age at hospitalization for UC, while for endocrine tumors the older patients were at higher risk. Our large study identified novel subsequent cancers in UC patients. However, some of these, including small intestinal carcinoids, prostate cancers and nonthyroid endocrine tumors, may be in excess because of intensified medical surveillance of the patients.
Copyright 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.