(HealthDay News) — Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is associated with an increased risk of melanoma, independent of the use of biologic therapy, according to research published in the February issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Siddharth Singh, MBBS, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN., and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the literature and performed a meta-analysis of 12 cohort studies, involving a total of 172,837 patients with IBD, to assess the association between IBD and risk of melanoma.

RELATED: Skin Cancer Resource Center

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The researchers found that IBD was associated with an increased risk of melanoma (12 studies: relative risk [RR], 1.37; 95t% confidence interval [CI], 1.10 to 1.70). The risk of melanoma was increased in patients with Crohn’s disease (seven studies: RR, 1.80; 95% CI, 1.17 to 2.75), and patients with ulcerative colitis (seven studies: RR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.50). 

The risk of melanoma was higher in patients with IBD for studies performed prior to 1998, before biologic therapies were introduced (eight studies: RR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.02 to 2.25), but not for studies performed after 1998 (two studies: RR, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.59 to 1.96).

“Based on a meta-analysis, IBD has been associated with an increased risk of melanoma, independent of the use of biologic therapy,” the researchers wrote. “Patients diagnosed with IBD should be counseled on their risk for melanoma.”

In an accompanying editorial, Derrick Siao, MD, and Fernando Velayos, MD, MPH, both from the University of California, San Francisco, highlight the importance of identifying how these data should affect clinical practice.

The rigor and strength/certainty of the data for skin cancer risk in IBD and the efficacy/impact of strategies for preventing skin cancer (screening, and primary and secondary prevention) should be critically scrutinized,” they wrote. “We suggest this process should include dermatologists with expertise in this area in addition to gastroenterologists. The final product should include detailed actionable recommendations, supported by evidence.”


  1. Singh S, Nagpal SJS, Murad MH, et al. Inflammatory Bowel Disease Is Associated With an Increased Risk of Melanoma: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014;12(2)210-218.
  2. Siao D, Velayos F. Avoiding Rash Decision Making: Skin Cancer Screening of Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014;12(2)274-276.