Background and Aims: The number of patients with inflammatory bowel disease [IBD], of non-Caucasian descent in Western Europe, is increasing. We aimed to explore the impact of ethnicity and country of birth on IBD phenotype.
Methods: IBD patients treated in the eight University Medical Centers in The Netherlands [Dutch IBD Biobank] were divided into two groups according to their ethnicity: 1] Caucasian patients of Western and Central European descent [CEU]; and 2] patients of non-Caucasian descent [non-CEU]. The non-CEU group was subdivided according to country of birth, into: born in The Netherlands or Western Europe [non-CEU European born]; or born outside Western-Europe who migrated to The Netherlands [non-CEU non-European born]. Both comparisons were analysed for phenotype differences [by chi-square test].
Results: The Dutch IBD Biobank included 2921 CEU patients and 233 non-CEU patients. Non-CEU Crohn's disease [CD] patients more often had upper gastro-intestinal disease [16% vs 8%, p = 0.001] and anal stenosis [10% vs 4%, p = 0.002] than CEU CD patients. The use of anti-tumour necrosis factor [TNF] agents and immunomodulators was higher in non-CEU IBD patients than in CEU IBD patients [45% vs 38%, p = 0.042] and [77% vs 66%, p = 0.001], respectively. Non-CEU IBD patients born in Europe [n = 116] were diagnosed at a lower age than non-CEU IBD patients born outside Europe [n = 115] [at 22.7 vs 28.9 years old, p <0.001].
Conclusion: Non-Caucasians had more severe disease behaviour than Caucasians. Non-CEU patients born in Europe were diagnosed at a lower age with IBD than those born outside Europe who migrated to The Netherlands.