Microscopic Disease Does Not Predict Relapse in Crohn’s Disease

AB Hu et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021; 19: 1226-1233. Full text: Ileal or Colonic Histologic Activity Is Not Associated With Clinical Relapse in Patients With Crohn’s Disease in Endoscopic Remission

In this retrospective study with 129 patients (mean age 25 yrs, mean disease duration 14.5 yrs) whose CD was in clinical/endoscopic remission, the authors examined factors associated with clinical relapse within 2 years; this included dose escalation, change in therapy, need for systemic steroids, or CD-related hospitalization or surgery.

Key findings:

  • Within 2 y of endoscopic evaluation, 42 patients (32.6%) had a clinical relapse.
  • There were no significant differences in proportions of patients with active ileal CD (23.8%), quiescent CD (28.6%), or normal histology (37%) between those who relapsed and those remaining in remission (P = .43). In addition, there was no no association between histologic features of active disease in ileal histology biopsies and symptom scores (Harvey Bradshaw index and simple inflammatory bowel disease questionnaire scores)
  • There were no significant differences in proportions of relapses among patients with active colonic disease (38.1%), quiescent disease (35.0%), or normal histology (27.9%, P = .73). 

My take: In terms of outcomes, clinical and endoscopic remission are important but whether histologic remission is needed is unclear (at this time).

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