Differences in colonic disease activity in patients with ulcerative colitis with and without primary sclerosing cholangitis: a case control study

Dis Colon Rectum. 1997 Apr;40(4):451-6. doi: 10.1007/BF02258391.


Purpose: A small group of patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) also suffer from primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). Genetic and immunologic differences exist between UC patients with and without concomitant PSC. Furthermore, UC patients with PSC are more prone to developing colonic dysplasia/aneuploidy compared with patients with UC only. Because colonic disease activity and treatment with sulfasalazine have been found to be of independent importance for development of colonic carcinoma in UC, this study aims to determine if differences exist concerning colonic disease activity in UC patients with and without PSC.

Methods: Twenty-nine PSC patients with total colitis were matched to two UC patients with total colitis but without liver disease. Case records and questionnaires were used to gain information on pharmacologic treatment and disease activity.

Results: Observation time was 20 (PSC group) and 23 years (UC only). Number of patients taking prophylactic treatment did not differ between groups. Patients with UC only had received treatment with systemic and local corticosteroids significantly more often than UC patients with PSC (P < 0.05 and P < 0.02). Patients with UC only were hospitalized because of colonic activity significantly more often (P < 0.02). Number of patients undergoing colectomy because of disease activity or number of patients with chronic continuous symptoms did not differ between the two groups.

Conclusion: UC in patients with PSC runs a milder course than UC in patients without this complication, although the number of patients taking prophylactic treatment was the same. If lower disease activity reflects differences in pathogenesis of UC in patients with PSC or if it can explain increased risk to develop colonic malignancy in patients with both PSC and UC needs further elucidation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing / etiology*
  • Colectomy
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / complications*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / genetics
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / therapy
  • Colonic Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sulfasalazine / therapeutic use
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Sulfasalazine