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Due to their increased cancer risk, patients with longstanding inflammatory bowel disease are offered endoscopic surveillance with concomitant histopathologic assessments, aimed at identifying dysplasia as a precursor lesion of colitis-associated colorectal cancer. However, this strategy is beset with difficulties and limitations. Recently, a novel classification criterion for colitis-associated low-grade dysplasia has been proposed, and an association between nonconventional dysplasia and progression was reported, suggesting the possibility of histology-based stratification of patients with colitis-associated lesions. Here, a cohort of colitis-associated lesions was assessed by a panel of 6 experienced pathologists to test the applicability of the published classification criteria and try and validate the association between nonconventional dysplasia and progression. While confirming the presence of different morphologic patterns of colitis-associated dysplasia, the study demonstrated difficulties concerning diagnostic reproducibility between pathologists and was unable to validate the association of nonconventional dysplasia with cancer progression. Our study highlights the overall difficulty of using histologic assessment of precursor lesions for cancer risk prediction in inflammatory bowel disease patients and suggests the need for a different diagnostic strategy that can objectively identify high-risk phenotypes.

Original publication




Journal article


Modern Pathology

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