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Dig Dis Sci. 2012 Jan;57(1):161-9. doi: 10.1007/s10620-011-1852-2. Epub 2011 Aug 17.

Decreased colorectal cancer and adenoma risk in patients with microscopic colitis.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, NorthShore University HealthSystem, 2650 Ridge Avenue, Suite G221, Evanston, IL 60201, USA.



Microscopic colitis is currently considered to harbor no increased risk for colorectal cancer, based on a few small studies with limited long-term follow-up. Our aim was to identify patients with microscopic colitis, and to compare long-term rates of colorectal cancer or adenoma to a control group of patients without microscopic colitis.


We reviewed the records of patients diagnosed with microscopic colitis, as identified by a hospital-based pathology database from January 2000 to August 2008. Clinical factors, including history of adenoma or adenocarcinoma, and all colonoscopy findings, were recorded. Age and gender-matched patients without microscopic colitis served as the control in a 1:1 fashion.


A total of 647 patients (153 male: 494 female) were identified with microscopic colitis (MC). Any history of colorectal cancer was detected in 1.92, 1.81, and 4.17% of patients with collagenous colitis (CC), lymphocytic colitis (LC), and controls, respectively (P = 0.095, P = 0.040, P = 0.015 for CC, LC, and all MC, respectively, comparing to controls). Overall, covariate-adjusted risk (odds ratio) of any history of colorectal cancer and colorectal adenoma in MC patients was 0.34 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.16-0.73, P = 0.006) and 0.52 (95% CI 0.50-0.76, P < 0.0001), respectively. The mean duration of follow-up was 4.63 years, with 147/647 (22.7%) of patients with clinical follow-up >7 years.


In this case-control study involving a large retrospective cohort, microscopic colitis is negatively associated with the risk for colorectal cancer and adenoma. Further studies are required to determine a temporal relationship between microscopic colitis and the future development of colorectal neoplasia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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