Achievement of deep remission during scheduled maintenance therapy with TNFα-blocking agents in IBD

Pauliina Molander, Taina Sipponen, Helena Kemppainen, Airi Jussila, Timo Blomster, Ritva Koskela, Markku Nissinen, Henna Rautiainen, Juha Kuisma, Kaija-Leena Kolho, Martti Färkkilä
Journal of Crohn's & Colitis 2013, 7 (9): 730-5

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Deep remission, meaning clinical remission with mucosal healing (MH), with anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) agents is a new target for therapy in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Our aim was to study how often patients on TNF-α blocking therapy actually achieve deep remission.

METHODS: The total of 252 IBD patients retrospectively included (183 Crohn's disease (CD), 62 ulcerative colitis (CU) or 7 inflammatory bowel disease unclassified-type colitis (IBDU)) received TNFα-antagonists (177 infliximab, 75 adalimumab) for at least 11 months and underwent ileocolonoscopy. We reviewed endoscopic and histological findings, clinical symptoms, C-reactive protein (CRP), and fecal calprotectin (FC) levels, and data on TNF-α blocking therapy. Defining deep remission as no clinical symptoms with endoscopic remission (the simple endoscopic score for Crohn's disease, SES-CD 0-2 or Mayo endoscopic subscore 0-1).

RESULTS: Of the 252 patients, 168 (67%) were in clinical remission and 122 (48%) in deep remission after a median of 23 months of maintenance therapy. Of the 183 CD patients, 117 (64%) reached clinical remission and 79 (43%) deep remission. Of the UC patients, 52 (75%) were in clinical remission and 43 (62%) in deep remission. The majority of patients in deep remission (n=99, 81%) also had histologically inactive disease. Both median CRP and FC levels were significantly lower in patients with deep remission.

CONCLUSION: Reassuringly, half of the IBD patients on the TNFα-blocking maintenance therapy achieved deep remission. The majority of patients in deep remission also achieved histological remission.

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