Risk of Cancer in Paediatric onset Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: A Nation-wide Study From the epi-IIRN

Ohad Atia, Sasha Harel, Natan Ledderman, Shira Greenfeld, Revital Kariv, Iris Dotan, Ran Balicer, Barbara Silverman, Eran Matz, Zohar Levi, Matti Waterman, Iris Fried, Jacob M. Rowe, Dan Turner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Paediatric onset IBD [PIBD] is characterised by a more extensive phenotype than adult-onset IBD and a higher utilisation of immunosuppressive medications; both may be associated with malignancy. We aimed to assess the risk of cancer in a nationwide cohort of PIBD and to explore the risks associated with medical treatments. Methods: PIBD patients [<18 years old] were included from the epi-IIRN cohort, covering 98% of the Israeli population from 2005, linked to the national cancer registry. We matched PIBD children to non-IBD children for calculating the cumulative incidence of cancer. Results: In all, 3944 PIBD cases were included (2642 [67%] Crohn's disease, 1302 [33%] ulcerative colitis) translating into 23 635 person-years of follow-up, individually matched to 13 005 non-IBD children. By 30 years of age, 14 IBD patients [0.35%, 5.9/10 000 patient-years] were diagnosed with cancer and one [0.03%] with haemophagocytic-lymphohistiocytosis [HLH], compared with 14 [0.11%, 1.9/10 000 patient-years] cases of cancer {relative risk (RR) 2.5 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05-6.2); p = 0.04} and no HLH in the comparison-group. There were no cases of hepatosplenic T cell lymphoma, adenocarcinoma, or cholangiocarcinoma. Cancer risk was 15.6 cases/10 000 person-years in those treated with thiopurines alone (RR compared with IBD patients never exposed to either thiopurines or anti-tumuor necrosis factor [TNF] 1.8 [95% CI 0.6-6.1]; p = 0.2), 11.1/10 000 in those treated with anti-TNF alone (RR 1.3 [95% CI 0.3-6.6]; p = 0.5), and 23.1/10 000 treated with combination therapy of anti-TNF and thiopurines (RR 2.8 [95% CI 0.6-13.8]; p = 0.2). Conclusions: PIBD confers an increased risk for malignancy compared with non-IBD in children. However, the absolute risk is very low and no differences in risk with specific therapies were apparent in our data.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)786-795
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Crohn's and Colitis
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation. All rights reserved.


  • Cancer
  • Crohn's disease
  • biologics treatment
  • ulcerative colitis


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