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.
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.
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.
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).
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.