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Antitumor necrosis factor treatment for pediatric inflammatory bowel disease.

Infliximab, adalimumab, and certolizumab are monoclonal antibodies against tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα), a proinflammatory cytokine with an increased expression in the inflamed tissues of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients. Currently, infliximab is the only anti-TNF drug that has been approved for use in refractory pediatric Crohn's disease (CD). Nevertheless, adalimumab and certolizumab have been used off-label to treat refractory pediatric IBD. Over the past 10 years, anti-TNF treatment has been of great benefit to many pediatric IBD patients, but their use is not without risks (infections, autoimmune diseases, malignancies). Despite the growing experience with these drugs in children with IBD, optimal treatment strategies still need to be determined. The purpose of this review is to summarize the current knowledge on the use of anti-TNF drugs in pediatric IBD and to discuss the yet-unsolved issues.

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