Ulcerative colitis

Lancet. 2017 Apr 29;389(10080):1756-1770. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)32126-2. Epub 2016 Dec 1.


Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the colon, and its incidence is rising worldwide. The pathogenesis is multifactorial, involving genetic predisposition, epithelial barrier defects, dysregulated immune responses, and environmental factors. Patients with ulcerative colitis have mucosal inflammation starting in the rectum that can extend continuously to proximal segments of the colon. Ulcerative colitis usually presents with bloody diarrhoea and is diagnosed by colonoscopy and histological findings. The aim of management is to induce and then maintain remission, defined as resolution of symptoms and endoscopic healing. Treatments for ulcerative colitis include 5-aminosalicylic acid drugs, steroids, and immunosuppressants. Some patients can require colectomy for medically refractory disease or to treat colonic neoplasia. The therapeutic armamentarium for ulcerative colitis is expanding, and the number of drugs with new targets will rapidly increase in coming years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Colectomy / methods
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / diagnosis*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / etiology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / therapy*
  • Colonoscopy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Mesalamine / therapeutic use
  • Prognosis
  • Remission Induction / methods


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Mesalamine