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Anthranoid laxative use is not a risk factor for colorectal neoplasia: results of a prospective case control study


BACKGROUND Anthranoid laxatives are the most commonly used purgatives in the therapy of acute and chronic constipation. Recent experimental data and a prospective cohort study provide evidence of a possible risk of anthranoid use for the development of colorectal neoplasms.

MATERIALS AND METHODS We performed a prospective case control study at the University of Erlangen to investigate the risk of anthranoid laxative use for the development of colorectal adenomas or carcinomas. A total of 202 patients with newly diagnosed colorectal carcinomas, 114 patients with adenomatous polyps, and 238 patients (controls) with no colorectal neoplasms who had been referred for total colonoscopy were studied. The use of anthranoid preparations was assessed by standardised interview, and endoscopically visible or microscopic melanosis coli was studied by histopathological examination.

RESULTS There was no statistically significant risk of anthranoid use for the development of colorectal adenomas (unadjusted odds ratio 1.0; 95% CI 0.5–1.9) or carcinomas (unadjusted odds ratio 1.0; 95% CI 0.6–1.8). Even after adjustment for the risk factors age, sex, and blood in the stools by logistic regression analysis the odds ratio for adenomas was 0.84 (95% CI 0.4–1.7) and for carcinomas 0.93 (95% CI 0.5–1.7). Also, there were no differences between the patient and control groups for duration of intake. Macroscopic and high grade microscopic melanosis coli were not significant risk factors for the development of adenomas or carcinomas.

CONCLUSION Neither anthranoid laxative use, even in the long term, nor macroscopic or marked microscopic melanosis coli were associated with any significant risk for the development of colorectal adenoma or carcinoma.

  • anthranoid laxatives
  • melanosis coli
  • colorectal adenoma
  • colorectal carcinoma
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