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Mod Pathol. 2012 Feb;25(2):295-307. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2011.120. Epub 2011 Aug 12.

Clinical and pathological analysis of colonic Crohn's disease, including a subgroup with ulcerative colitis-like features.

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Department of Pathology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Little is known regarding the clinical and, in particular, pathological manifestations of patients with isolated colonic Crohn's disease. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical and pathological features of patients with Crohn's disease limited to the colon at initial presentation, and to determine whether there are any histological features that are predictive of outcome after surgery. The clinical features, outcome after surgery, and pathological features of colonic resection specimens of 73 patients who presented initially with isolated colonic Crohn's disease were evaluated and compared with 45 Crohn's disease patients who presented initially with both ileal and colonic involvement. Clinically, patients with isolated colonic Crohn's disease presented at a significantly older age at the time of diagnosis, and had a significantly shorter duration of colitis before surgical resection, than did patients with ileocolonic Crohn's disease at disease onset. Pathologically, patients with isolated colonic Crohn's disease showed a significantly higher proportion of cases with subtotal, total, or left-sided colitis, and significantly fewer strictures/stenosis, pericolonic adhesions, pyloric metaplasia, and cases with proximal worse than distal colonic disease. Overall, patients with isolated colonic Crohn's disease showed a trend toward a lower number of major microscopic Crohn's disease features. A small proportion of patients from both Crohn's disease groups (14% and 13%, respectively) showed inflammatory disease limited to the mucosa, without mural involvement, reminiscent of ulcerative colitis, and these were termed 'ulcerative colitis-like Crohn's disease'. These patients were significantly younger than those with mural involvement. Overall, 44% of patients from both Crohn's disease groups developed at least one adverse outcome, and neither the number nor the type of major Crohn's disease features correlated with adverse outcome. Patients with isolated colonic involvement have distinctive clinical and pathological features. A small subgroup of Crohn's patients shows only mucosal involvement reminiscent of ulcerative colitis.

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