Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have a high risk of developing colorectal neoplasia.
Dr Zhang and colleagues from China investigated whether thiopurines can decrease the risk of developing colorectal neoplasia in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn's disease (CD).
The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 24 observational studies involving 76,999 participants to evaluate the risks of developing colorectal neoplasia in IBD patients receiving thiopurine treatment.
The research team found that overall pooled estimate revealed a protective effect of thiopurine use on colorectal neoplasia in patients with IBD.
|Studies conducted in Europe showed the protective effect of thiopurines|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
The team noted that the effect was significant in UC patients, but was not significant in CD patients.
The researchers found that thiopurines exposure significantly decreased the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC), and advanced colorectal neoplasia, but did not decrease the risk of dysplasia alone.
The research team noted that tendencies towards the protective effect of thiopurines were distinct in clinic-based studies, and case-control studies, but not in population-based studies and cohort studies.
Interestingly, studies conducted in Europe, rather than in North America, showed the protective effect of thiopurines.
Dr Zhang's team concludes, "This meta-analysis revealed an antineoplastic effect of thiopurines on colorectal neoplasia in patients with IBD, particularly amongst patients with UC."