Systematic review and meta-analysis of third-line salvage therapy with infliximab or cyclosporine in severe ulcerative colitis

Authors Joseph D. Feuerstein, Mona Akbari, Elliot B. Tapper, Adam S. Cheifetz.


Background In patients with ulcerative colitis who fail corticosteroids and are treated with rescue therapy (e.g. infliximab or cyclosporine) but fail to respond, salvage therapy with infliximab or cyclosporine can be considered. We sought to assess the efficacy and safety of this third-line salvage therapy.

Methods We performed a meta-analysis of trials published in PubMed up to January 2015 relating to the use of third-line salvage therapy following failure of intravenous corticosteroids and infliximab or cyclosporine. Pooled outcome rates for each salvage strategy and pooled odds ratio comparing the two strategies were calculated using the random effects model. Heterogeneity was assessed by the Q and I2 statistics.

Results The search strategy yielded 40 articles of which 4 were eligible for inclusion. Four articles assessed patients who were treated with infliximab aft er failure of cyclosporine and 2 articles assessed the use of cyclosporine aft er failure of infliximab. There were 138 patients using infliximab as a third-line salvage therapy and 30 patients using cyclosporine. When comparing these two strategies, there was no significant difference in clinical response (RR 1.03, 95%CI 0.7- 1.46 P=0.87), clinical remission (RR 0.69, 95%CI 0.30-1.57 P=0.37), or colectomy at 12 months (RR 1.14, 95%CI 0.79-1.67 P=0.48). Similarly, there was no significant difference in total (RR 1.91, 95% CI0.38-9.64 p=0.43) or serious adverse events (RR 1.18, 95%CI 0.34-4.07 P=0.80).

Conclusion While third-line salvage therapy may be efficacious in achieving short-term clinical response/remission, there remains a significant risk of colectomy and adverse events.

Keywords Ulcerative colitis, infliximab, cyclosporine, salvage therapy

Ann Gastroenterol 2016; 29 (3): 341-347

Original Articles