The Association between Race and Crohn's Disease Phenotype in the Western Cape Population of South Africa, Defined by the Montreal Classification System

BACKGROUND: Inter-racial differences in disease characteristics and in the management of Crohn's disease (CD) have been described in African American and Asian subjects, however for the racial groups in South Africa, no such recent literature exists. METHODS: A cross sectional study of all consecutive CD patients seen at 2 large inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) referral centers in the Western Cape, South Africa between September 2011 and January 2013 was performed. Numerous demographic and clinical variables at diagnosis and date of study enrolment were identified using an investigator administered questionnaire as well as clinical examination and patient case notes. Using predefined definitions, disease behavior was stratified as ‘complicated’ or ‘uncomplicated’. RESULTS: One hundred and ninety four CD subjects were identified; 35 (18%) were white, 152 (78%) were Cape Coloured and 7(4%) were black. On multiple logistic regression analysis Cape Coloureds were significantly more likely to develop ‘complicated’ CD (60% vs. 9%, p = 0.023) during the disease course when compared to white subjects. In addition, significantly more white subjects had successfully discontinued cigarette smoking at study enrolment (31% vs. 7% reduction, p = 0.02). No additional inter-racial differences were found. A low proportion of IBD family history was observed among the non-white subjects. CONCLUSIONS: Cape Coloured patients were significantly more likely to develop ‘complicated’ CD over time when compared to whites.