Background: Perinuclear antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (pANCA) and anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies (ASCA) are proposed to be specific markers for ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD). Their prevalence and relationship to disease phenotype and outcome in unselected cohorts of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), however, is largely unclear. We studied the prevalence of these serologic markers in a population-based IBD cohort 10 years after diagnosis, and examined whether their presence could be related to distinct subgroups and outcome of disease.
Methods: Of 685 living IBD patients, 620 met for a 10-year follow-up, of whom 526 (UC, n = 357 and CD, n = 169) participated in this study.
Results: Twenty-seven percent (n = 46) of CD patients were ASCA-positive and 31% (n = 109) of UC patients were pANCA-positive. Positive ASCA was more frequent in CD patients with stricturing (P = 0.003) or penetrating (P = 0.012) complications than in those with inflammatory behavior at diagnosis. Moreover, the presence of ASCA was associated with an at least twice higher risk of evolving more severe disease behavior during follow-up (P < 0.001). In UC, pANCA expression was related to female gender (P = 0.005) and the use of azathioprine (P < 0.001), and in CD, to colon-limited disease and age ≥40 years at diagnosis (P = 0.009 and P = 0.001, respectively).
Conclusions: The prevalence of ASCA in CD and pANCA in UC appears markedly lower than in referral-based populations. Even with the low prevalence, our study gives further support to the role of ASCA and pANCA as markers for distinct phenotype and outcome of disease.
(Inflamm Bowel Dis 2008)