Increased risk of early colorectal neoplasms after hepatic transplant in patients with inflammatory bowel disease

Dis Colon Rectum. 1993 Oct;36(10):908-12. doi: 10.1007/BF02050624.


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is associated with an increase in colon and rectal carcinoma. Immunosuppression after transplantation increases the incidence of certain types of tumors.

Purpose: We reviewed the postoperative course of IBD patients who had undergone hepatic transplantation for primary sclerosing cholangitis to see whether there was an increase in the rate of colorectal neoplasms.

Methods: The charts of 44 patients from two institutions who had undergone a hepatic transplant for primary sclerosing cholangitis were reviewed. Of these 44 patients, 33 had IBD (32 chronic ulcerative colitis, 1 Crohn's). Of these 33 patients, 2 had previously undergone total colectomy/proctectomy and 4 died in the perioperative period. The remaining 27 patients had all undergone colonoscopic evaluation just prior to transplant. Postoperatively all patients were given prednisone, cyclosporine, and azathioprine. Minimum follow-up was 12 months; mean follow-up was 39 months.

Results: Three of the 27 patients (11.1 percent) developed early colorectal neoplasms (2 cancers, 1 large villous adenoma with severe dysplasia) at 9, 12, and 13 months post-transplant. All three patients were successfully treated with a total colectomy/proctectomy or resection of any remaining colon. These 3 patients had a mean 19-year history of IBD (range, 9-27 years), while the 24 patients without tumors had a mean 18-year history of IBD (range, 6-39 years).

Conclusion: There is a subset of transplant patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis and IBD who rapidly develop colorectal neoplasms. Frequent surveillance is recommended for IBD patients in the post-transplant period.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing / complications
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing / surgery
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / complications*
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors