Early predictors of colectomy and long-term maintenance of remission in ulcerative colitis patients treated using anti-tumour necrosis factor therapy

K Subramaniam, A Richardson, J Dodd, J Platten, B Shadbolt, P Pavli
Internal Medicine Journal 2014, 44 (5): 464-70

BACKGROUND: Anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) agents are used as induction and maintenance therapy in ulcerative colitis (UC) refractory to standard therapy and as rescue therapy in acute severe UC (ASUC).

AIMS: To determine long-term outcomes including colectomy rates, predictors of maintenance of response and remission, risk of serious adverse events by reviewing 12-year clinical experience from a single centre in Australia.

METHODS: Seventy-one patients with moderate-severe UC (Mayo score ≥6) (n = 52) and ASUC (n = 19) treated with anti-TNF agents were included. Primary end-points were colectomy at 12 weeks and colectomy-free survival at last follow up. Secondary endpoints included clinical response (decrease in Mayo score of ≥3) and remission (Mayo score ≤2).

RESULTS: Colectomy at 12 weeks was 1%, and colectomy-free survival was 69%. Using full Mayo score, at 3 months, 32/37 (87%) refractory and 9/12 (75%) ASUC patients responded to anti-TNF therapy; 19/37 (51%) refractory and 8/12 (67%) ASUC patients were in remission. Long-term response rates (mean follow up 37.4 months) were 24/44 (55%) and 11/15 (73%) in refractory and ASUC groups respectively. Long-term remission rates were 43% in refractory and 60% in ASUC patients. Twenty two of 71 (31%) underwent colectomy (mean time 50.4 months). Clinical non-response at 3 months was a predictor of colectomy (hazard ratio = 9.346; P = 0.001). ASUC predicted long-term maintenance of response (odds ratio 19.4; P = 0.013) and remission (odds ratio 6.13; P = 0.037). Two of 71 patients had serious infections.

CONCLUSIONS: Anti-TNF therapy is effective in both refractory and ASUC. We argue that early anti-TNF therapy may improve outcome in UC.

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