Combating Anti-Drug Antibodies with Immunomodulators in Pediatric IBD

RJ Colman et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2021; 27: 507-515. Favorable Outcomes and Anti-TNF Durability After Addition of an Immunomodulator for Anti-Drug Antibodies in Pediatric IBD Patients

In this retrospective review with 89 patients who developed antidrug antibodies (ADAs), the authors identified 30 who started an immunomodulator (IM) within 3 months of developing an ADA and compared with 59 who did not start an IM. The main IM used was methotrexate (n= 28, 93%)

Key findings:

  • 61 of the 89 patients (69%) had quiescent disease based on physician global assessment at their previous clinic visit
  • The initial anti-TNF was stopped shortly after ADA detection in 36% of the No-IM patients vs none of the IM patients. Thus, anti-TNF agents durability was prolonged in the IM group.
  • Dose intensification was also undertaken at the time of ADA detection: 25 (83%) of IM group and 28 (48%) of non-IM group.
  • At 12 months, steroid-free clinical and biochemical remission on the same anti-TNF occurred in 53.9% of the IM group vs 26.8% in the No-IM group (P = 0.025).
  • Drug levels rose higher (P = 0.003) and ADA levels fell farther (P = 0.037) in the IM group than in the No-IM group
  • Lower ADAs often improved without IM: An ADA level <329 ng/mL had a 76.2% sensitivity and an 83.3% specificity for ADA reversal without IM.

My take: If a patient develops a significantly elevated anti-drug antibody, addition of methotrexate/immunomodulator along with dose intensification increases the likelihood that the anti-TNF agent will continue to be effective.

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