Primary sclerosing cholangitis and ulcerative colitis: evidence for increased neoplastic potential

Hepatology. 1995 Nov;22(5):1404-8. doi: 10.1002/hep.1840220511.


Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a biliary destructive disease mostly affecting patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). PSC has been suggested to be an independent risk factor for the development of colorectal malignancy in UC. Patients with PSC also have an increased risk of developing cholangiocarcinoma. This study aimed at assessing the cumulative risk of colorectal neoplasia in PSC and UC, and also to determine risk factors for the development of cholangiocarcinoma. Fifty-eight PSC patients were included. Forty PSC patients having extensive UC were each matched to two control patients of the same age, with extensive colitis and a comparable duration of the colitis, but without PSC. All UC patients had been under colonoscopic surveillance with multiple biopsies. Among the 40 PSC patients with UC, 16 developed colonic dysplasia or carcinoma, versus 10 in the control group (P < .001). The absolute cumulative risk of developing colorectal dysplasia/carcinoma in the PSC/UC groups was 9%, 31%, and 50% after 10, 20, and 25 years of disease duration. In the group with UC only, the corresponding risk was 2%, 5%, and 10%, respectively (P < .001). Ten patients with PSC developed cholangiocarcinoma, all but one having UC. In the control group, no cholangiocarcinoma occurred. Patients with PSC and UC with colorectal neoplasia developed cholangiocarcinoma significantly more often compared with patients with UC and PSC without colonic dysplasia/carcinoma (P < .02). This study demonstrates not only that patients with PSC and UC have a significantly higher risk of developing colorectal neoplasia compared with patients having UC only, but also that patients with PSC and UC having colorectal neoplasia are more prone to develop cholangiocarcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing / complications*
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing / pathology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / complications*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology*
  • Risk Factors