Malignant complications of celiac disease: a case series and review of the literature

J Med Case Rep. 2022 Dec 12;16(1):460. doi: 10.1186/s13256-022-03682-3.


Background: Celiac disease is an immune-mediated enteropathy triggered by gluten in genetically susceptible individuals. Diagnosis is based on evaluating specific autoantibodies and histopathologic findings of duodenal biopsy specimens. The only therapy for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet. Celiac disease can be complicated by malnutrition, other autoimmune diseases, refractoriness to treatment, and gastrointestinal tumors. This article presents seven cases of malignancies in patients with celiac disease. Its objective is to raise awareness of the malignant complications of celiac disease, leading to earlier diagnosis and improved outcomes.

Case presentation: Seven cases of malignant complications of celiac disease occurred among 190 patients followed at the Department of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, University Hospital Brno from 2014 to 2021. We describe these cases and the presentation, diagnostic process, course, management, and outcomes for each, along with proposed potential risk factors of malignant complications. There was one Caucasian man who was 70 years old and six Caucasian women who were 36, 46, 48, 55, 73, and 82 years old in our cohort. Of the seven cases of malignancies in our cohort, four patients were diagnosed with small bowel adenocarcinoma, one with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, one with carcinoma of the tongue, and one with colorectal carcinoma.

Conclusions: Malignancies occurred in 3.7% of patients followed up for celiac disease. Awareness of the malignant complications of celiac disease, risk factors, presentation, and disease course could lead to earlier diagnosis and improved outcomes.

Keywords: Carcinoma; Case report; Celiac disease; Complication; Lymphoma; Malignancy.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoimmune Diseases*
  • Celiac Disease* / complications
  • Celiac Disease* / diagnosis
  • Diet, Gluten-Free
  • Duodenal Neoplasms*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male


  • Autoantibodies