Reappraising Risk Factors for Inflammatory Bowel Disease-associated Neoplasia: Implications for Colonoscopic Surveillance in IBD

J Crohns Colitis. 2020 Sep 7;14(8):1172-1177. doi: 10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjaa040.


One of the most feared complications of inflammatory bowel disease [IBD]-associated colitis is colorectal cancer. When considering the substantial increase in the prevalence of IBD, without any anticipated decline, coupled with decreasing colectomy rates for dysplasia and expanding medical options for effectively controlling inflammation, it is predicted that the pool of people living with-and ageing with-colonic IBD, who are recommended to undergo lifelong colonoscopic surveillance for colorectal neoplasia, will strain existing resources and challenge the sustainability of current guideline-based surveillance recommendations. At the same time, we are missing the opportunity for early detection in a group that is overlooked as high-risk, as a substantial proportion of colorectal cancers are being diagnosed in individuals with colonic IBD who have disease duration shorter than when guidelines recommend surveillance initiation. Here, we reappraise: 1] inflammation as a dynamic risk factor that considers patients' cumulative course; 2] time of screening initiation that is not based primarily on absolute disease duration; and 3] surveillance intervals as an iterative determination based on individual patient factors and consecutive colonoscopic findings. This Viewpoint supports a paradigm shift that will ideally result in a more effective and higher-value colorectal cancer prevention approach in IBD.

Keywords: Crohn’s disease; Early diagnosis; cancer prevention; colonic neoplasms; diagnostic techniques; digestive system; ulcerative colitis.

MeSH terms

  • Colonoscopy / methods*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / prevention & control
  • Early Detection of Cancer* / standards
  • Early Detection of Cancer* / trends
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Preventive Health Services
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors