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Are Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease on Chronic Immunosuppressive Therapy at Increased Risk of Cervical High-grade Dysplasia/Cancer? A Meta-analysis

Allegretti, Jessica R. MD*; Barnes, Edward L. MD*; Cameron, Anna MD

doi: 10.1097/MIB.0000000000000338
Original Clinical Articles

Background: Immunosuppression is a mainstay of therapy for both induction and maintenance of remission for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Women who are chronically immunosuppressed have been shown to be at higher risk of developing cervical high-grade dysplasia and/or carcinoma. There is contradictory data whether immunosuppressed patients with IBD have the same risk profile for cervical cancer as patients with solid organ transplant or HIV infection.

Objective: To determine whether the risk of cervical high-grade dysplasia and/or cancer is higher in patients with IBD on immunosuppressive therapy compared with the rates in the general population.

Methods: The studies were restricted to full-text retrospective cohort studies and case controls that had a high (6–9) Newcastle-Ottawa Score.

Results: All pooled analyses were based on a random-effects model. Five cohort studies and 3 case–control studies of patients with IBD on any immunosuppression with cervical high-grade dysplasia/cancer (n = 995) were included in the meta-analysis. The total IBD population in these studies was 77,116. Patients with IBD had an increased risk of cervical high-grade dysplasia/cancer compared with healthy controls (odds ratio = 1.34, 95% confidence interval: 1.23–1.46). Heterogeneity was detected (I2 = 34.23, Q = 10.64, df = 7; P = 0.15). The source was found to be the type of study, as well as the odds ratio presented (crude versus adjusted).

Conclusions: There is sufficient evidence to suggest an increased risk of cervical high-grade dysplasia/cancer in patients with IBD on immunosuppressive medications compared with the general population. Given this increased risk, increased screening intervals are indicated.

Article first published online 26 February 2015.

*Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endoscopy, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; and

Department of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Calgary, Tom Baker Cancer Care, Foothills Medical Center, Alberta, Canada.

Reprints: Jessica R. Allegretti, MD, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115 (e-mail:

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Received December 15, 2014

Accepted December 22, 2014

© Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, Inc.
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