AT DDW 2015

WASHINGTON (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – The course of Crohn’s disease has changed for the better since the introduction of biological therapies and other treatments in the late 1990s.

“In an era of novel treatment options and strategies for Crohn’s disease, we are seeing that the hospitalization and surgery rates have declined, but progression to a complicated phenotype is unfortunately still common nowadays,” said Dr. Steven Jeuring from Maastricht (the Netherlands) University Medical Center.

A community-based study comparing outcomes for patients with Crohn’s Disease (CD) before and after the introduction of infliximab (Remicade) in the Netherlands in 1999 showed the risk of hospitalization was 55% lower for patients treated after 1999, and the risk for hospitalization during the course of the disease was 35% lower. Similarly, the risk for requiring surgery was 77% lower for patients treated in the modern era, and the risk for surgery at any time in the disease course was 54% lower, Dr. Jeuring said at the annual Digestive Disease Week.

The prevalence of a complicated CD phenotype, marked by the presence of bowel stricturing and/or penetration, was also 48% lower at the time of diagnosis among patients treated within the last two decades, but the rate of progression from an inflammatory to complicated phenotype remained unchanged from the pre-biologics era, Dr. Jeuring said.

He and his colleagues conducted a retrospective study with a population-based cohort of adults with incident inflammatory bowel disease diagnosed from 1991 through 1998 (342 patients) and from 1999 through 2011 (820 patients). The cohort represented 93% of all patients in the IBD registry of the South Limburg region of the Netherlands.

They found that the distribution of disease phenotypes was significantly different between the two time periods, with 45% of patients having complicated disease in the pre-biologics era, compared with 37% during the biologics era, translating into a 23% reduction over time. However, in both cohorts, a fairly large proportion of patients already had complicated disease at the time of diagnosis, Dr. Jeuring noted.

When the investigators looked at the risk of developing stricturing or penetrating disease during 8 years of follow-up, however, they found that there was no difference between the groups, with 30% of patients in the earlier cohort having disease progression, compared with 28% of patients in the later cohort, translating into a non-significant hazard ratio (HR) of 0.95.

Dr. Jeuring said that this finding was “very, very disappointing.”

More encouraging, however was the finding that hospitalization rates in the modern era were significantly lower than in the pre-biologics period. For example, the likelihood of being hospitalized at any time during 8 years of follow-up was 72% in the earlier cohort, compared with 52% in the later cohort.

The HR for being hospitalized at the time of diagnosis among the later vs. earlier cohorts was 0.45, and was statistically significant. Similarly, the HR for being hospitalized at any time over 8 years was 0.65 for patients in the modern era (also significant, with a 95% confidence interval that did not cross 1).

Even more dramatically, more modern therapies were associated with a significant reduction in the risk of being rehospitalized, with a significant HR of 0.29.

The risk for surgical resection either at diagnosis or during the 8-year follow-up period was 52% among patients diagnosed and started on treatment in the 1990s, compared with 25% for patients treated in the new millennium. For the latter cohort, the HRs for surgery at the time of diagnosis and for surgery during follow-up were 0.23 and 0.46, respectively. Both were statistically significant.

The lower risk for surgery for patients in the modern era is primarily driven by decreased risk for surgery for inflammatory disease, Dr, Jeuring said.

The study was supported by Maastricht University Medical Center. Dr. Jeuring reported having no conflicts of interest


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