Published online Sep 7, 2009. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.4193
Revised: August 6, 2009
Accepted: August 13, 2009
Published online: September 7, 2009
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at increased risk of colorectal malignancies. Adenocarcinoma is the commonest type of colorectal neoplasm associated with ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease, but other types of epithelial and non-epithelial tumors have also been described in inflamed bowel. With regards to non-epithelial malignancies, lymphomas and sarcomas represent the largest group of tumors reported in association with IBD, especially in immunosuppressed patients. Carcinoids and in particular neuroendocrine neoplasms other than carcinoids (NENs) are rare tumors and are infrequently described in the setting of IBD. Thus, this association requires further investigation. We report two cases of neoplasms arising in mild left-sided UC with immunohistochemical staining for neuroendocrine markers: a large cell and a small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the rectum. The two patients were different in age (35 years vs 77 years) and disease duration (11 years vs 27 years), and both had never received immunosuppressant drugs. Although the patients underwent regular endoscopic and histological follow-up, the two neoplasms were locally advanced at diagnosis. One of the two patients developed multiple liver metastases and died 15 mo after diagnosis. These findings confirm the aggressiveness and the poor prognosis of NENs compared to colorectal adenocarcinoma. While carcinoids seem to be coincidentally associated with IBD, NENs may also arise in this setting. In fact, long-standing inflammation could be directly responsible for the development of pancellular dysplasia involving epithelial, goblet, Paneth and neuroendocrine cells. It has yet to be established which IBD patients have a higher risk of developing NENs.