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Tacrolimus versus anti-tumor necrosis factor agents for steroid-refractory active ulcerative colitis based on the severity of endoscopic findings: a single-center, open-label cohort study

Authors Matsumoto S, Kawamura H, Nishikawa T, Sagihara N, Miyatani H, Mashima H

Received 4 June 2017

Accepted for publication 14 August 2017

Published 26 September 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 249—258


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Andreas M Kaiser

Satohiro Matsumoto, Haruna Kawamura, Takeshi Nishikawa, Noriyoshi Sagihara, Hiroyuki Miyatani, Hirosato Mashima

Department of Gastroenterology, Saitama Medical Center, Jichi Medical University, Saitama, Saitama, Japan

Background and aims: At Saitama Medical Center, for remission induction in active ulcerative colitis (UC) patients with endoscopic evidence of severe disease, we tend to preferentially use tacrolimus (TAC) over anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-a agents. We conducted this study to evaluate the validity of our therapeutic strategies.
Patients and methods: This retrospective study was conducted in 52 steroid-refractory active UC patients with a Clinical Activity Index (CAI) score of ≥7 who were receiving remission induction therapy with TAC or anti-TNF-a agents. The patients were divided into a TAC treatment group (TAC group, n = 29) and an anti-TNF-a agent treatment group (anti-TNF group, n = 23). The CAI, Ulcerative Colitis Endoscopic Index of Severity (UCEIS) and incidence of events (relapse, hospitalization and surgery) were retrospectively analyzed.
Results: At treatment initiation, the CAI score was 12.6 in the TAC group and 11.5 in the anti-TNF group (= 0.09), while the corresponding values of the UCEIS were 6.5 and 5.1, respectively (P = 0.0035). The clinical remission rate at 12 weeks was 55% (65% when only the subgroup that received rapid induction therapy was included in the analysis) in the TAC group and 57% in the anti-TNF group, with no significant difference. The cumulative event-free rates at 1, 6 and 12 months were 65.5%, 39.4%, and 39.4%, respectively, in the TAC group and 95.7%, 77.2% and 71.7%, respectively, in the anti-TNF group (P = 0.0037).
Conclusion: Rapid induction therapy with TAC tended to be selected for active UC patients with endoscopic evidence of severe disease, and the present study supported the validity of this therapeutic approach. However, transition to the remission-maintenance phase was more favorable in the anti-TNF group.

Keywords: ulcerative colitis, tacrolimus, infliximab, adalimumab, steroid refractory

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