Biologic Treatment Effectiveness for Esophageal Crohn’s Disease

J Lui et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2021; 27: 1544-1547. The Use of Biologics for the Treatment of Esophageal Crohn Disease

In this retrospective review (1998-2018), the authors identified 39 patients with esophageal Crohn disease (ECD) who met inclusion criteria.

Key findings:

  • 35 (92%) had a clinical response to treatment and 21 (55%) went into clinical remission
  • ECD seems to be associated with more disabling intestinal CD phenotypes. Of the 39 patients, 10 (26%) had stricturing phenotype and 21 (54%) had penetrating phenotype; 19 (49%) had perianal disease
  • “Initial treatment after diagnosis with anti-TNFalpha agents compared to other biologics was associated with greater improvement in clinical (97% vs 71%; P=0.02) and endoscopic response (95% vs. 40%; P<0.01) and in clinical remission (64.5% vs. 14.2%; P=0.01).”
  • Initial treatment with an anti-TNFalpha agent was initial treatment in 18 patients with ECD; 14 had an inflammatory, 3 had a stricturing, and 1 had a fistulizing phenotype.

While this study showed better response to anti-TNFalpha agents compared to other biologics (eg. anti-IL-12/IL-23 agents), this may be due to a selection bias as other biologics are often used as a second-line treatment and are selected more often in refractory disease.

My take: Esophageal Crohn’s disease is a rare diagnosis and appears associated with more severe disease.

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park (near Washington D.C.)