Crohn's Disease-Associated Anorectal Cancer Has a Poor Prognosis With High Local Recurrence: A Subanalysis of the Nationwide Japanese Study

Am J Gastroenterol. 2023 Sep 1;118(9):1626-1637. doi: 10.14309/ajg.0000000000002269. Epub 2023 Mar 28.


Introduction: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the major life-threatening complications in patients with Crohn's disease (CD). Previous studies of CD-associated CRC (CD-CRC) have involved only small numbers of patients, and no large series have been reported from Asia. The aim of this study was to clarify the prognosis and clinicopathological features of CD-CRC compared with sporadic CRC.

Methods: A large nationwide database was used to identify patients with CD-CRC (n = 233) and sporadic CRC (n = 129,783) over a 40-year period, from 1980 to 2020. Five-year overall survival (OS), recurrence-free survival (RFS), and clinicopathological characteristics were investigated. The prognosis of CD-CRC was further evaluated in groups divided by colon cancer and anorectal cancer (RC). Multivariable Cox regression analysis was used to adjust for confounding by unbalanced covariables.

Results: Compared with sporadic cases, patients with CD-CRC were younger; more often had RC, multiple lesions, and mucinous adenocarcinoma; and had lower R0 resection rates. Five-year OS was worse for CD-CRC than for sporadic CRC (53.99% vs 71.17%, P < 0.001). Multivariable Cox regression analysis revealed that CD was associated with significantly poorer survival (hazard ratio 2.36, 95% confidence interval: 1.54-3.62, P < 0.0001). Evaluation by tumor location showed significantly worse 5-year OS and RFS of CD-RC compared with sporadic RC. Recurrence was identified in 39.57% of CD-RC cases and was mostly local.

Discussion: Poor prognosis of CD-CRC is attributable primarily to RC and high local recurrence. Local control is indispensable to improving prognosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anus Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Colitis-Associated Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Crohn Disease* / complications
  • East Asian People
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Rectal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies