IBD Short Takes -Fall 2017

From ImproveCareNow: Real-World Experience with Adalimumab

An excerpt:

A total of 174 children and adolescents were treated with adalimumab as their first anti-TNF therapy…The mean age at the time of Crohn’s disease diagnosis was 13 years and, on average, they started adalimumab at 14.5 years of age…

  • At 3 months after adalimumab was started, all 174 were still on the medication, and 69-71% were in steroid-free remission
  • At 6 months after adalimumab was started, of the 174 who had a clinic visit, 95% were still on the medication, and 75-77% were in steroid-free remission
  • At 12 months after adalimumab was started, of the 154 who had a clinic visit, 94% were still on the medication, and 79-80% were in steroid-free remission
  • At 24 months after adalimumab was started, of the 71 who had a clinic visit, 97% were still on the medication, and 91-94% were in steroid-free remission
  • At 36 months after adalimumab was started, of the 39 who had a clinic visit, 80-86% were still on the medication, and 81-86% were in steroid-free remission

No positive or negative effect on remission was seen with concomitant immunomodulator therapy. However, the number of patients studied during the retrospective analysis is too small to detect all but the greatest impact of this approach.

EC Maxwell et al. JPGN 2017; 65: 299-305  CHOP experience with diverting ileostomy for severe IBD (2000-2014).

  • In this retrospective study, a diverting ileostomy in 24 patients had improvement: 71% –>22% on chronic steroids, improved growth, hemoglobin, blood transfusion and hospitalization.
  • 10 patients underwent subsequent colectomy, 7 had successful reanastomosis, and 7 remain diverted.
  • Diversion allowed a definitive diagnosis in 7 subjects (initially 13 patients were considered IBD-U).
  • Surgical complications were common (n=13 in 7 subjects) and included stoma obstruction, stoma prolapse, and resection of ischemic bowel.
  • One notable feature regarding this cohort was that 50% were 5 or younger when diagnosed with IBD.
  • The authors conclude that a diverting ileostomy can induce clinical stability and allow time to clarify diagnosis.

A Assa et al. JPGN 2017; 65: 293-98. In this study involving findings from 234 patients extracted from the ImageKids database (prospective multicenter cohort), the authors found that pediatric patients with perianal Crohn’s disease have a greater inflammatory burden; however, this was driven mainly by those who had fistulizing disease.

L Lian et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017; 15: 1226-31. This retrospective study from the Cleveland Clinic compared outcomes of endoscopic balloon dilation (EBD) (n=176) or surgery (n=131) for Crohn’s disease-related strictures (1998-2013). Patients who had EBD had an “average time to surgery delayed by 6.45 years.” Immediate success rate for EBD was 91.3%; the perforation rate was 1.1%.. Ultimately, 52% of patients who had EBD required surgery.  Earlier surgery lowered the risk of further surgery but also was associated with significant perioperative complications. In the operative group, 8.8% of patients experienced complications, mainly intra-abdominal abscesses and enterocutaneous fistula. Thus, in the right hands and with careful selection, EBD may be useful.

I Lawrance et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017; 15: 1248-55. This study reported the results of 11 patients who received rectal tacrolimus for resistant ulcerative proctitis. Dosing: The concentration of tacrolimus was 0.5 mg/mL and 3 mL was administered twice a day.Clinical response, using the Mayo Clinic score, was achieved in 73% of tacrolimus subjects compared with 10% (n=1) of placebo-treated subjects.  Mucosal healing at week 8 was noted in 73% of tacrolimus-treated patients, as well.

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Three Studies Show Benefit of Concomitant Therapy for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Part 1)

In the first study (J Cheng et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2017; 23: 1762-73), the authors retrospectively reviewed 148 children (113 with Crohn’s disease, 35 with ulcerative colitis). 90 patients received concomitant therapy (infliximab with either a thiopurine [n=67], methotrexate [n=23]) and 58 received infliximab monotherapy. Key findings:

  • Concomitant therapy >6 months  significantly lowered the risk of secondary loss of response in Crohn’s disease (CD) (HR =0.39) compared to monotherapy.   A similar trend was noted with ulcerative colitis (UC) but did not reach statistical significance.
  • Steroid-free remission rates at 1 year were 78% for CD patients with concomitant therapy compared with 54% on monotherapy
  • Among primary nonresponders, 67% of CD patients and 75% of UC patients were receiving IFX monotherapy.
  • No differences in adverse events were evident between patients receiving monotherapy compared with concomitant therapy. One patient (receiving azathioprine) developed a follicular lymphoma; this patient was well 10 years later.

The second study (Y Qui et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017; 15: 1359-72) was a systemic review of 35 studies that met the authors’ inclusion criteria. In total, 6790 patients with inflammatory bowel disease were enrolled in these studies. This study looked at multiple anit-TNF agents including infliximab, adalimumab, certolizumab, and golimumab. Key finding:

  • Antidrug antibodies were reduced by 51% in patients receiving concomitant therapy
  • Conclusion from authors: “concomitant use of immunomodulators should be considered in patients treated with anti-TNF treatment.”

My take: Overall, for most pediatric patients with CD, to date, concomitant therapy has been the most effective treatment.  More prospective studies are needed to determine more conclusively the benefit and optimal duration/timing of combined therapy, particularly with the more frequent use of therapeutic drug monitoring.  Also, as will be noted in future posts from annual meeting, thiopurine use is declining.

More on this topic tomorrow.

Related blog posts:

Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.

Top Anti-TNF for Ulcerative Colitis

A recent retrospective cohort study (S Singh et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017; 15: 1218-25) compared infliximab and adalimumab in a nationwide Danish cohort of adults with ulcerative colitis (UC) from 2005-2014. The authors used propensity score and selected 171 patients who received infliximab (IFX) from a total of 1580 and 104 patients who received adalimumab (ADA) among a total of 139.

Key findings:

  • Patients who received ADA had higher hospitalization rates (HR 1.84) and a trend toward higher UC-related hospitalization (HR 1.71, CI 0.95-3.07) compared to IFX
  • Risk of abdominal surgery was not significantly higher in ADA patients (HR 1.35) compared to IFX
  • Serious infections were higher in ADA group, HR of 5.11 of needing hospitalization due to infections

There have been no randomized clinical trials  to determine if a specific anti-TNF agent is superior to another. In an associated editorial (MT Osterman, GR Lichtenstein, 1197-99), the authors note that while we don’t know which agent is superior, by comparing similar trials (ACT 1 & 2 for IFX and ULTRA 1 & 2 for ADA), “raw week 8 induction rates of clinical remission, clinical response, and mucosal healing are approximately 16%, 18%, and 19%, respectively, higher for infliximab”..”less dramatic differences favoring infliximab (approximately 9%, 13%, and 15%, respectively) are seen during maintenance at 1 year.”

My take: Due to the lack of randomized head-to-head studies, we do not know with certainty which anti-TNF is best for UC.  However, the data we have from retrospective cohort studies and from using raw data from prospective studies suggests that infliximab is effective in more patients.

Related blog posts:

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Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.

Combination Therapy with Adalimumab -Is it Helpful?

A recent study (JM Chalbhoub et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2017; 23: 1316-27) performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the effectiveness of Adalimumab (ADA) combination therapy compared with monotherapy.  With infliximab (IFX), the SONIC study, showed that combination therapy with an immunomodulator (IMM) (azathioprine) improved response; combination therapy resulted in reduced immunogenicity, lower rates of infusion reactions, and higher IFX levels.

With the advent of widespread use of therapeutic drug monitoring, some have questioned the need for combination therapy with IFX.  The need for combination therapy for ADA is also a matter of debate.  ADA has less immunogenicity than IFX and it is unclear if combination therapy will improve outcomes. There have been conflicting studies regarding combination therapy with ADA, prompting the current meta-analysis.

The authors identified 24 articles for inclusion from an initial pool of 1194. Key findings:

  • No significant difference between combination therapy and monotherapy was noted for induction of remission (OR 0.86) or response (OR 1.01). The induction of remission is based on data from 3096 patients (1400 on combination treatment).
  • No difference was noted for maintenance of remission (OR 0.97) or response (OR 0.91). The maintenance of remission is based on data from 1885 patients (859 on combination treatment).
  • Patients receiving combination therapy had lower odds of developing antidrug antibodies (OR 0.24)
  • Subgroup analysis in anti-TNF experienced patients showed improved successful induction of remission (OR 1.26) but also more frequent opportunistic infections (OR 2.44)

Overall, the authors conclude that “combination of ADA and immunomodulators does not seem superior to ADA monotherapy for induction and maintenance of remission and response to Crohn’s disease.” They do comment on the recent DIAMOND study which was a randomized open-label top-down strategy trial in anti-TNF-naive and IMM-naïve patients.  While no overall advantage of combination therapy was evident, better endoscopic response (84% vs. 64% with monotherapy) was seen at 26 weeks (but not at 52 weeks).

This study has several limitations.  Overall, there were a small number of randomized trials and the trials had significant heterogeneity.

My take (borrowed from authors): “It is unclear whether the addition of IMM impacts the efficacy of a less immunogenic anti-TNF biologic such as ADA in CD.” Though, in the subgroup of anti-TNF exposed patients, “combination therapy was associated with higher odds of induction of remission.”

Related blog posts:

Adalimumab Can Reverse Growth Failure in Pediatric Crohn’s Disease

In an industry-sponsored study (TD Walters et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2017; 23: 967-75), adalimumab (ADA) was shown to be effective agent in reversing growth failure associated with pediatric Crohn’s disease (CD).

Background:  About one-third of children and adolescents with CD suffer from growth failure and delayed puberty.  Several prior studies have shown that anti-TNF therapy can improve height velocity and that early treatment with anti-TNF therapy (≤3 months after diagnosis) leads to greater improvement in height obtained, if initiated before puberty or early into puberty. This study examines the effectiveness of ADA in children from the IMAgINE 1 trial.

The authors identified 73 participants with growth delays (& adequate data) along with 27 participants with no growth delays.

Key findings:

  • ADA therapy significantly improved and normalized growth rates at 26 and 52 weeks in patients with baseline linear growth impairment.
  • At week 26, height velocity z-score was 1.33 among 23 children in remission compared with -0.78 (n=29) among “nonremitters”
  • At week 52, height velocity z-score was 2.17 among 27 children in remission compared with -1.57 (n=17) among “nonremitters”

My take: In moderate to severe CD, anti-TNF agents have been demonstrated to reverse growth failure; though, this is expected to occur only in patients with clinical response. To my knowledge, no other CD medical therapies have been proven to reverse growth failure (surgical treatment can improve growth as well).

Related blog posts:

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Hepatitis B Reactivation Due to Immunosuppressive Therapies

The topic of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation has been discussed on this blog before (see link below).  Another excellent review on this topic (R Lomba, TJ Liang. Gastroenterol 2017; 152: 1297-1309) has been published.  The authors examine the course and mechanisms of HBV reactivation.  They divide the risk of reactivation into three groups: high, moderate and low risk and proposed management.

High risk groups, which have >10% risk of reactivation) include the following

  • B-cell-depleting agents including rituximab, ofatumumab, alemtuumab, and ibritumumab
  • High-dose corticosteroids (>20 mg/day in adults)
  • Antracyclines including doxorubicin
  • Potent TNF-α inhibitors: infliximab, adalimummab, certolizumab, and golimumab
  • Local therapy ofr HCC including TACE (transarterial chemoembolization)

Moderate groups (1-10% reactivation) include cytokine-based Rx (eg. abatacept, ustekinumab, natalizumab, vedolizumab), cyclosporine, systemic chemotherapy, moderate corticosteroid dosing

Low risk groups (<1% reactivation) include thiopurines (azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine), and methotrexate as well as short-term low-dose corticosteroids.

Management:

  • For HBV screening, the authors recommend HBsAg and anti-HBc testing
  • Prophylactic therapy with potent oral anti-HBV therapies are recommended for those at moderate or high risk of reactivation.  In those at low risk, the options include prophylactic treatment or watchful monitoring.
  • A more detailed algorithm is provided in Figure 3.  In those with HBsAg positivity, if HBV DNA is less than 2000 U/mL, this algorithm suggests monitoring labs (HBsAg, ALT, HBV DNA every 3 months)

Mechanisms of HBV reactivation are discussed.  For example, with TNF-α inhibitors “can activate a unique host antiviral pathway, the APOBEC (apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme, catlytic polypeptide-like) proteins, that cause the degradation of cccDNA in HBV-infected cells. Thus, blocking this endogenous antiviral pathway may lead to a higher HBV replication state and HBV reactivation.”

My take: In pediatric gastroenterology, we do not see a lot of HBV reactivation. Nevertheless, we do use many of the medications which can trigger HBV reactivation and need to keep these recommendations in mind.

Related blog post: What HBV Testing is Needed Before TNF Inhibitor Therapy

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Surgical Reset for Anti-TNF Therapy with Crohn’s Disease

A recent study (A Assa et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2017; 23: 791-97) indicates that after surgery, anti-TNFα treatment is worth another try.

In this retrospective study with 53 children, 18 had “pharmacodynamic failure” with anti-TNFα medications (PK group) and 35 were controls. “Phamacocynamic failure is characterized by either a lack of improvement of CD symptoms or  loss of response after initial improvement in the setting of adequate serum drug levels without ADAs” [antidrug antibodies].

Key findings:

  • Mean age at time of intestinal resection was 14.8 years
  • Median time from resection to anti-TNF initiation was 8 months
  • Compared to the control group, the PK group had similar response to anti-TNF therapy.   “Similar proportions of patients from both groups were in clinical remission on anti-TNF treatment after 12 months and at the end of follow-up (1.8 years)”
  • At 12 months, remission rates were 89% (PK) versus 88.5% (control)

The authors propose an explanation: “A plausible explanation for this finding is that in severely inflamed tissue with high inflammatory burden, local high levels of TNFα serves as a sink for anti-TNFα antibodies and that tissue injury and local hypoxia might further limit drug penetrance to its target.”

My take: This information is useful.  Many patients who have surgery may respond to anti-TNFα therapy subsequently.  The unanswered question: Could more frequent dosing of anti-TNFα therapy have averted surgery in some patients by overcoming areas of intense disease?