Targeted Therapy for Autoinflammatory Very Early Onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease

S Rudra et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2022; 20: 1408-1410. Ruxolitinib: Targeted Approach for Treatment of Autoinflammatory Very Early Onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease

As we start to understand the genetic basis for some of the cases of very early onset inflammatory bowel disease (VEO-IBD), identifying effective targeted treatment is needed. For example, abatacept has been shown to be helpful for CTLA4 deficiency. The report cited above reports the experience of ruxolitinib for autoinflammatory phenotype (AIP) of VEO-IBD.

AIP was defined by persistent fevers, leukocytosis, elevation of at least 2 cytokines: sIL2R, IL8, IL6, CXCL9 or IFN-gamma.

Ruxolitinib is a selective JAK1/2 inhibitor which is approved for treatment of polycythemia vera, myelofibrosis, and graft-versus-host disease. As an aside, its retail cost (with 10 mg, #60) is ~$15,000 per month.

In this case report, 6 children with severe VEO-IBD were treated with average starting dose of 5.6 mg/m2/dose twice daily. Most were receiving dual therapy –3 patients were treated with IL1 blockade and 2 patinents with anti-TNF therapy.

Key findings:

  • Over 6-months, all patients had clinical response, especially with regard to fever and stool frequency
  • All patients had improvement in lab studies
  • Among the 3 with endoscopic followup, 1 had deep mucosal healing and 2 had endoscopic improvement
  • Three mild infections occurred while on treatment, but no bone marrow suppression was noted

My take: Patients with VEO-IBD represent a huge challenge. Trying to target specific therapies is difficult given that there are more than 70 monogenic defects that have been identified and many of the therapies are quite expensive (and difficult to get).

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