Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2010; 32: 1037–1043


Background  Coeliac disease is associated with an increased risk of lymphoma and small bowel malignancy, but most studies have found no increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Aim  To compare the prevalence of colorectal adenomas in coeliac disease patients with that in non-coeliac disease controls.

Methods  We identified all coeliac disease patients who underwent colonoscopy at our institution during a 44-month period. We matched each patient with non-coeliac disease controls by age, gender and endoscopist. We compared the adenoma prevalence between these groups, and used multivariate analysis to assess the independent association of coeliac disease with adenomas.

Results  We identified 180 patients with coeliac disease and 346 controls. At least one adenoma was present in 13% of coeliac disease patients and 17% of controls (P = 0.20). On multivariate analysis, age (OR per year 1.04, 95% CI 1.02–1.07) and male gender (OR 2.33, 95% CI 1.36–3.98) were associated with adenomas, while the relationship between coeliac disease and adenomas remained null (OR 0.75, 95% CI 0.41–1.34).

Conclusions  Coeliac disease is not associated with an increased risk of colorectal neoplasia. The lack of increased risk of colorectal cancer observed in population studies is related to a true average risk of colorectal neoplasia, rather than artifactually reflecting increased colonoscopy and associated polypectomies in the coeliac population.