Periodic Colonoscopies Are Associated with Improved Survival and Prognosis of Colorectal Cancer in Ulcerative Colitis Academic Article uri icon

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  • Background and study aims

    This study aimed to identify whether ulcerative colitis (UC) patients who develop colorectal cancer (CRC) present at earlier stages of CRC and have improved survival if prior to their CRC diagnosis, they underwent intermittent follow-up colonoscopies compared to those who have no follow-up colonoscopies.


    Patients with UC who developed primary CRC were identified using data provided by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. We defined low-risk CRC stage as estimated 5-year survival ≥ 80% compared to high-risk CRC as 5-year survival < 80%.


    A total of 421 patients were identified with UC and CRC. The 15-year mortality rate was significantly higher in those who did not have follow-up colonoscopy (33/74; 44.6%) compared to the follow-up group (105/347; 30.3%) (p = 0.0172). Among the 219 patients with UC with staging information available, patients who did not have follow-up colonoscopy were more likely to present with high-risk CRC (24/31; 77.4%) compared with patients who had follow-up colonoscopies (88/188; 44.4%) (p = 0.0016). Those who underwent follow-up colonoscopies at average intervals ≤ 3 years presented with high-risk CRC 41.3% of the time, which was less than the 48.6% in those with less frequent colonoscopies and 77.4% in those with no follow-up (p = 0.0048).


    Patients with UC who underwent intermittent follow-up colonoscopies had CRC detected at earlier stages and improvement in all-cause mortality, compared to those who with no follow-up colonoscopies. This may support regular surveillance colonoscopies for patients with UC.

publication date

  • May 2022