Latest on VTE in Pediatric IBD

MA Aardoom et al. JCC 2021; https://doi.org/10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjab171 The incidence and characteristics of venous thromboembolisms in paediatric-onset inflammatory bowel disease; a prospective international cohort study based on the PIBD-SETQuality Safety Registry

Design: 2016-2020: paediatric gastroenterologists prospectively replied to the international Safety Registry, monthly indicating whether they had observed a VTE case in a patient <19 years with IBD. n=24,802 PIBD patients

Key findings:

  • Twenty cases of VTE were identified (30% Crohn’s disease)
  • The VTE incidence was 3.72 [95%CI 2.27 – 5.74] per 10,000 person-years, 14-fold higher than in the general pediatric population (0.27 [95%CI 0.18-0.38], p<0.001)
  • All but one patient had active IBD, 45% were using steroids and 45% hospitalized.
  • Cerebral sinus venous thrombosis was most frequently reported (50%) VTE

My take: The absolute risk of VTE is low in the pediatric population. In those with active disease, the presence of CVC and use of steroids are known risk factors and require consideration of, at minimum, nonpharmacologic interventions.

Related blog posts:

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.)

Better Levels –>Better Outcomes with Adalimumab

More data is accumulating that show that higher levels of adalimumab are associated with better outcomes: F Rinawi et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2021; 27 1079-1087. Association of Early Postinduction Adalimumab Exposure With Subsequent Clinical and Biomarker Remission in Children with Crohn’s Disease. This pediatric study included 65 patients with Crohn’s disease; the author’s note that children weighing less than 40 kg frequently received higher dosing than on-label ADA dosing.

Key findings:

  • Adalimumab trough levels (TLs) at both weeks 4 and 8 were significantly higher in remitters vs nonremitters at week 24 (P < 0.001 and P = 0.002, respectively)
  • The best ADA TL cutoffs at weeks 4 and 8 for predicting clinical/biomarker remission at week 24 were 22.5 µg/mL (80% sensitivity, 90% specificity) and 12.5 µg/mL (94% sensitivity, 60% specificity) respectively

My take (borrowed from authors): Greater early ADA exposure is associated with superior clinical/biomarker outcomes at week 24. ADA pediatric dosing is looking a lot like infliximab dosing in which nearly 75% would be underdosed if using on-label dosing.

Related blog post:

From Illuminarium Show Wild

Anti-TNF Therapy and Lower Rates of Colon Cancer & Financial Hardship Due to IBD

M Aklkhayyat et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2021; 27: 1052-1060. Lower Rates of Colorectal Cancer in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease Using Anti-TNF Therapy

Using a selected sample from a database with >62 million patients, this retrospective cohort study determined the rates of colorectal cancer among patients with IBD. Key finding:

Among the IBD cohort, patients treated with anti-TNF agents were less likely to develop CRC; patients with Crohn’s disease: odds ratio, 0.69; 95% confidence interval, 0.66-0.73; P < 0.0001 vs patients with ulcerative colitis: odds ratio, 0.78; 95% confidence interval, 0.73-0.83; P < 0.0001.

My take: This study found an association between anti-TNF therapy and a reduced risk of CRC in patients with IBD.

Related blog posts:

NH Nguyen et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 1068-1078. National Estimates of Financial Hardship From Medical Bills and Cost-related Medication Nonadherence in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Diseases in the United States

Using the National Health Interview survey (2015), the authors identified individuals with self-reported IBD and assessed national estimates of financial toxicity. Key findings:

  • 23% reported financial hardships due to medical bills, 16% of patients reported cost-related medication nonadherence, and 31% reported cost-reducing behaviors
  • Approximately 62% of patients reported personal and/or health-related financial distress, and 10% of patients deemed health care unaffordable
  • Inflammatory bowel disease was associated with 1.6 to 2.6 times higher odds of financial toxicity across domains compared with patients without IBD

My take: In addition to the physical and emotional toll of having IBD, there is also significant financial hardships for many.

Encouraging Safety Data for Ustekinumab & ESPGHAN Obesity Position Paper

WJ Sandborn et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2021; 27: 994-1007. Full text: Safety of Ustekinumab in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Pooled Safety Analysis of Results from Phase 2/3 Studies

Methods: Data from 6 ustekinumab phase 2/3 CD and UC studies were pooled, and safety was evaluated through 1 year; this included 2574 patients (1733 patient-years of follow-up)

Key Safety findings –Events per 100 patient years -placebo vs ustekinumab respectively:

  • Adverse events: 165.99 [95% CI, 155.81–176.67] vs 118.32 [95% CI, 113.25–123.55])
  • Serious AEs: 27.50 [95% CI, 23.45–32.04] vs 21.23 [95% CI, 19.12–23.51])
  • Infections 80.31 [95% CI, 73.28–87.84] vs 64.32 [95% CI, 60.60–68.21])
  • Serious infections: 5.53 [95% CI, 3.81–7.77] vs 5.02 [95% CI, 4.02–6.19])
  • Malignancies excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer: 0.17 [95% CI, 0.00–0.93] vs 0.40 [95% CI, 0.16–0.83])
  • Major cardiovascular events were rare with 2 in placebo group 0.34 and 2 in the ustekinumab group 0.12

More key findings:

  • No cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy or reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy
  • Antibodies to ustekinumab were identified in 3.6% of patients

My take: This study showed similar safety between ustekinumab and placebo, but is limited by short followup. The authors note that 5-year data from ustekinumab’s use with psoriasis has found no safety signals for malignancy.

Related blog posts:

Unrelated article: E Verduci et al. JPGN 2021; 72: 769-783: Full text: Role of Dietary Factors, Food Habits, and Lifestyle in Childhood Obesity Development: A Position Paper From the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Committee on Nutrition

Why I Didn’t Like a Study on Resilience Plus One

P Sehgal et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2021; 27: 791-796. High Levels of Psychological Resilience Associated With Less Disease Activity, Better Quality of Life, and Fewer Surgeries in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

This cross-sectional study with 229 patients examined the relationship between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) activity and resilience based on the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale questionnaire (high resilience score ≥ 35).

Key findings:

  • High resilience was noted in 27% of patients with UC and 21.5% of patients with CD.
  • Among patients with UC, those with high resilience had a mean Mayo score of 1.54, and those with low resilience had a mean Mayo score of 4.31, P < 0.001.
  • Among patients with CD, those with high resilience had a mean HBI of 2.31, and those with low resilience had a mean HBI of 3.95, P = 0.035.
  • In multivariable analysis, high resilience was independently associated with lower disease activity in both UC (P < 0.001) and CD (P = 0.037) and with higher QoL (P = 0.016).
  • High resilience was also associated with fewer surgeries (P = 0.001) among patients with CD.

Reading this study, made me think of Galen’s assertion about a different treatment, circa 100 AD:   “All who drink of this remedy recover in a short time except those whom it does not help, who all die. It is obvious, therefore, that it fails only in incurable cases.” In the case of this study, the remedy is resiliency.

This study is intriguing and adds to the literature that mental health and IBD may be a two-way street: mental health may affect IBD and IBD activity may affect mental health. However, it is difficult to prove causation in a cross-sectional study. Reverse causation is possible; that is higher disease burden may result in lower resilience.

Also, it is not clear to me that resilience is a particularly modifiable factor. Some may interpret this study in a ‘blame the victim’ mode. I think a lot of individuals would think they are resilient but most do not know until they face a difficult situation. Perhaps, Mike Tyson’s assertion is more apt: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

My take: This study does not prove that resilience helps prevent IBD activity, though being resilient is nice if you have it.

Plus one: JR Rosh et al. J Crohns Colitis. 2021 May 26; jjab089. doi: 10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjab089. (EPUB). Ustekinumab in Pediatric Patients with Moderately to Severely Active Crohn’s Disease Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Efficacy Results from UniStar, a Phase 1 Study This was a “multicentre, 16-week, double-blind induction dose-ranging study (NCT02968108), patients aged 2-<18 years; patients were randomized (1:1) to one of 2 weight range-based intravenous induction doses: 130mg vs 390mg in patients ≥40kg and 3mg/kg vs 9mg/kg in patients <40kg. At week 8, all patients received a single subcutaneous ustekinumab maintenance dose of 90mg in patients ≥40kg or 2mg/kg in patients <40kg..” (Kudos to my partner, Stanley Cohen, one of the authors)

Key finding:  Pharmacokinetics were similar to those in adults with Crohn’s disease. However, serum ustekinumab concentrations were lower among those with body weight <40kg…These results suggest a different dosing regimen may be required for patients <40kg

Related blog posts:

Image below from Anne’s Beach (Lower Matecumbe Key, Florida)

Radiomic Imaging in Crohn’s Disease

X Li et al. Gastroenterol 2021; 160: 2303-2316. Development and Validation of a Novel Computed-Tomography Enterography Radiomic Approach for Characterization of Intestinal Fibrosis in Crohn’s Disease

Methods: This article describes the development a computed-tomography enterography (CTE)–based radiomic model (RM). This retrospective multicenter study included 167 CD patients who underwent preoperative CTE and bowel resection. 1454 radiomic features were extracted from venous-phase CTE and a machine learning–based RM was developed based on the reproducible features using logistic regression. The RM was validated in an independent external test cohort recruited from 3 centers.

Key findings:

  • In the training cohort, the area under the ROC curve (AUC) of RM for distinguishing moderate–severe from none–mild intestinal fibrosis was 0.888.
  • In the test cohort, the RM had an AUC of 0.816.
  • RM was more accurate than visual interpretations by either radiologist (radiologist 1, AUC = 0.554; radiologist 2, AUC = 0.598; both, P < .001) in the test cohort

My take: This CT approach with RM allowed for accurate characterization of intestinal fibrosis in CD. The images look pretty cool too.

SC Option for Infliximab

S Schreiber, S Ben-Horin et al. Gastroenterol 2021; 160 2340-2353. Full text: Randomized Controlled Trial: Subcutaneous vs Intravenous Infliximab CT-P13 Maintenance in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Methods: Overall in this phase 1 randomized, open-label study in patients with either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, 66 and 65 patients were randomized to CT-P13 SC (every 2 weeks) and CT-P13 IV, respectively

Key findings: The pharmacokinetic noninferiority of CT-P13 SC to CT-P13 IV, and the comparable efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity profiles

These findings are in agreement with similar studies performed in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

My take: If confirmed with additional studies, it is likely that SC infliximab treatment will be a useful alternative to intravenous infliximab. This is similar to data presented with vedolizumab which is currently administered intravenously.

Graphical Abstract

Review of Pyoderma Gangrenosum

K Vaidy et al. JPGN Reports 2020; Full text: Treatment of Pyoderma Gangrenosum in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease

This in-depth report reviews pyoderma gangrenosum including the differential diagnosis, the pathophysiology/genetics, presentation/diagnosis and treatment approaches. Anti-TNF therapy: “Currently available published data support using an anti-TNF-α biologic agent as first-line therapy for severe PG therapy in pediatric IBD, as well as for those cases that have not responded to local therapies.”

Related blog posts -PG:

What Can We Conclude from Five Patients Treated with a Combination of Infliximab and Tofacitinib?

Most often a letter to the editor would not grab my attention. A recent letter did: Full Text: Tofacitinib Is Safe and Effective When Used in Combination With Infliximab for the Management of Refractory Ulcerative Colitis (R Gilmore et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021; 1302-1303; reply 1303-1304 by JA Berinstein et al.)

This reported case series with 5 patients with severe ulcerative colitis (UC) who received a combination of tofacitinib and infliximab for at least 90 days were retrospectively reviewed. Tofacitinib dosing was de-escalated to 5 mg twice daily after 8 weeks. Thiopurine therapy was stopped with tofacitinib initiation.

Key findings:

  • Median duration of combination therapy was 9 months (range, 4–12 months). At 90 days, all patients had a reduction in Mayo score of ≥3. Four patients improved clinically and biochemically (Table 1), with 3 patients achieving steroid-free remission.
  • The only adverse event reported was one patient developing varicella zoster.

The authors letter title regarding tofacitinib being “safe and effective” is clearly overstated. The reply notes that in limited experience the group from the University of Michigan had a 50-year-old man develop severe pulmonary and CNS disease due to acquisition of legionnaires disease while on combination tofacitinib and infliximab.

My take: (borrowed from reply) “Efficacy and safety data obtained through rigorous randomized trials are needed…it is possible that long-term use of combination tofacitinib and infliximab will lead to an unacceptable risk of infection.”

Another study of tofacitinib: GR Lichtenstein et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2021; 27: 816-825. Tofacitinib, an Oral Janus Kinase Inhibitor: Analysis of Malignancy (Excluding Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer) Events Across the Ulcerative Colitis Clinical Program Key finding: With an exposure of 2576.4 patient years & 124 overall cohort tofacitinib-treated patients, 20 developed a malignancy

Related blog post:

Key West, FL