Smoking Habit and Load Influence Age at Diagnosis and Disease Extent in Ulcerative Colitis

Aldhous, Marian C.; Drummond, Hazel E.; Anderson, Niall; Reza Baneshi, M.; Smith, Linda A.; Arnott, Ian D.R.; Satsangi, Jack
March 2007
American Journal of Gastroenterology;Mar2007, Vol. 102 Issue 3, p589
Academic Journal
INTRODUCTION: Cigarette smoking affects susceptibility to ulcerative colitis (UC), but its effects on age at diagnosis, disease extent, and need for surgery are less well defined. We examined these parameters in a detailed retrospective analysis of a large cohort of well-characterized UC patients. METHODS: 499 UC patients (254 male, median age 34.3 yr) were studied. Data were collected on smoking habits, smoking load (pack-years), age at recruitment, age at diagnosis, surgery, and disease extent. Colonoscopic and histological data at both diagnosis and follow-up (median follow-up time 4.6 yr) were available on 349 patients. RESULTS: Ex-smokers were older at diagnosis than current or nonsmokers, (46.5 yr vs 31.1 or 29.4 yr, respectively, P < 0.001). Before diagnosis, ex-smokers had a higher smoking load than current smokers (13.0 vs 6.94 pack-years, P < 0.001). A Cox model for age at diagnosis, with smoking as a time-dependent covariate, showed that at any age, ex-smokers were significantly more likely to develop UC than current smokers (hazard ratio 1.8, 95% CI 1.41–2.44, P < 0.001). For current smokers at latest colonoscopy, those with extensive disease were the lightest smokers (median 0.320 pack-years), whereas those with healthy colons were the heaviest smokers (median 9.18 pack-years, P= 0.006). At 5 yr, regression of extensive disease was more frequent in current than ex-smokers or nonsmokers (30% current smokers vs 8% nonsmokers and 5% ex-smokers, χ2= 30.4, P < 0.001) but these differences were not maintained over a longer time period. CONCLUSIONS: Smoking habit influences the age at diagnosis and changes in disease extent in UC. Mechanisms are likely to be complex and require further investigation.


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