Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic respiratory disease characterized by a progressive decline in lung function and a specific histopathologic pattern defined as usual interstitial pneumonia. Early diagnosis and new therapeutic protocols have contributed to a reduction in disease progression. Thus, some patients may develop extrapulmonary diseases including malignancies and chronic pathologies. The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency of intestinal disorders such as polyps, colorectal carcinoma (CRC), and chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in patients with IPF.
From the database of 189 patients with IPF (148 males, 78.3 %; 41 females, 21.7 %) residing in the district of Modena, we identified 44 patients (36 males, 81.8 %; 8 females, 18.2 %) with a histologically confirmed intestinal disease.
Intestinal polyps were detected in 41 cases (93.2 %), of which 4 were associated with CRC and 1 with IBD; 1 patient had only CRC (2.3 %), and 2 patients had only IBD (4.5 %). Both males and females developed bowel disease, but males seemed to have a higher number of polyps and high-grade adenomas with a predisposition to malignant transformation.
As patients with IPF may present with intestinal diseases that can evolve into malignancies in some cases, they should undergo appropriate follow-up and targeted colorectal screening. Thus, colorectal pathologies should not take a back seat. These preliminary results encourage further research to select suitable patients for specific diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in order to prolong survival and improve the quality of life.

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