Microscopic features of colorectal neoplasia in inflammatory bowel diseases

Aude Bressenot, Virginie Cahn, Silvio Danese, Laurent Peyrin-Biroulet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The risk of developing dysplasia leading to colorectal cancer (CRC) is increased in both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. The prognosis of CRC may be poorer in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) than in those without IBD. Most CRCs, in general, develop from a dysplastic precursor lesion. The interpretation by the pathologist of the biopsy will guide decision making in clinical practice: colonoscopic surveillance or surgical management. This review summarizes features of dysplasia (or intraepithelial neoplasia) with macroscopic and microscopic characteristics. From an endo-scopic (gross) point of view, dysplasia may be classified as flat or elevated (raised); from a histological point of view, dysplasia is separated into 3 distinct categories: negative for dysplasia, indefinite for dysplasia, and positive for dysplasia with low- or high-grade dysplasia. The morphologic criteria for dysplasia are based on a combination of cytologic (nuclear and cytoplasmic) and architectural aberrations of the crypt epithelium. Immunohistochemical and molecular markers for dysplasia are reviewed and may help with dysplasia diagnosis, although diagnosis is essentially based on morphological criteria. The clinical, epidemiologic, and pathologic characteristics of IBD-related cancers are, in many aspects, different from those that occur sporadically in the general population. Herein, we summarize macroscopic and microscopic features of IBD-related colorectal carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3164-3172
Number of pages9
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Dysplasia
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Microscopic features

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Medicine(all)


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