Vedolizumab for Refractory Microscopic Colitis, Plus, Vedolizumab and Serious Infections

LC Shipley et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2022; 20: 455-457. Vedolizumab Therapy in Refractory Microscopic Colitis: A Single Center Case Series

In this report, the authors describe nine patients with refractory microscopic colitis (median age 55 years) who were treated with vedolizumab.

Key findings:

  • Clinical response with induction in 9 (100%); time to >50% response ranged from 1 to 7 weeks with 5 patients responding within 2 weeks.
  • Sustained response with maintenance therapy in 6 (67%); duration of follow-up ranged from 1 month to 15 months. The three patients without response had symptom duration of 10 yrs, 12 yrs, and 25 yrs prior to institution of vedolizumab.
  • Only two patients had histologic follow-up. While both had clinical response, the patient with lymphocytic colitis had histologic resolution whereas a patient with collagenous colitis had histologic persistent.

My take: Given vedolizumab’s favorable safety profile, further studies (with endoscopic endpoints) of vedolizumab are needed to define its efficacy for microscopic colitis.

Another study with vedolizumab: J Kirchgesner et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2022; 20: 314-324. Risk of Serious Infections With Vedolizumab Versus Tumor Necrosis Factor Antagonists in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Key finding: The risk of serious infections was not different between vedolizumab and anti-TNF in the overall IBD cohort (HR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0·79-1.13), while the risk was decreased for vedolizumab users in patients with UC (HR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.50-0.93), but not CD (HR, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.87-1.38)

Related blog post/related article:

Disclaimer: This blog, gutsandgrowth, assumes no responsibility for any use or operation of any method, product, instruction, concept or idea contained in the material herein or for any injury or damage to persons or property (whether products liability, negligence or otherwise) resulting from such use or operation. These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician.  Because of rapid advances in the medical sciences, the gutsandgrowth blog cautions that independent verification should be made of diagnosis and drug dosages. The reader is solely responsible for the conduct of any suggested test or procedure.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.

How Many Biopsies Are Sufficient for Diagnosis of Microscopic Colitis?

Briefly noted: Microscopic colitis is much more frequent in adults than in children; nevertheless, it is often important to exclude. A recent study (B Virine et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2020; 18: 2003-2009. Full text: Biopsies From Ascending and Descending Colon Are Sufficient for Diagnosis of Microscopic Colitis) indicates that biopsies can be limited to the ascending and descending colon.

Methods: This was a retrospective study using biopsies from 101 consecutive patients with MC (52 cases of collagenous colitis, 42 cases of lymphocytic colitis, 7 combined cases),

Key finding:

  • In this study, microscopic colitis was detected with 100% sensitivity by analyzing biopsy specimens from the ascending and descending colon

My take: The authors note that previous guidelines have suggested taking 8 biopsy specimens.  Their findings support taking much fewer biopsies.

Related blog post/related article:


Can Microscopic Colitis Lead to Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis?

A recent prospective cohort “ESPRESSO” study (H Khalili et al. Gastroenterol 2020; 158: 1574-83) from 1990-2017 examined the risk of incident inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in subjects with microscopic colitis, n=13,957 (& each matched with 5 controls). ESPRESSO = Epidemiology Strengthened by histoPathology Reports in Sweden.

Key findings:

  • In the microscopic colitis group, there were 323 incident cases of ulcerative colitis (UC) and 108 cases of Crohn’s disease (CD)
  • Mean times to diagnosis were 3.2 years for UC and 3.3 years for CD
  • Microscopic colitis was associated with an aHR of 12.6 for CD and 17.3 fo rUC
  • The absolute excess risk compared to matched control over a 10-year period were 2.6% for UC and 0.9% for CD

My take: Individuals with microscopic colitis are at increased risk of developing UC and CD.

Related blog post/related article:


#NASPGHAN19 Postgraduate Course (Part 5)

Here are some selected slides and notes from this year’s NASPGHAN’s postrgraduate course.  There may be errors in omission or transcription on my part.

Link to the full NASPGHAN PG Syllabus 2019 (Borrowed with permission)

– Intestinal Inflammation Session

192 David T. Rubin, MD, University of Chicago Positioning the new IBD therapies: Merging experience with evidence

Some key points:

  • Ustekinumab escalation can increase response. Optimization in CD patients with loss of response led to recapture of response in 69% of patients
  • Tofacitinib –given black warning, will likely be used in more refractory patients
  • May be able retry a previous therapy (Chicago protocol in slide below)

As an aside, while Dr. Rubin is an excellent speaker, my view is that there are so many terrific pediatric IBD specialists, I would favor having a pediatric IBD specialist give this talk at our postgraduate course.  (Some might argue that adult IBD specialists would have more experience with emerging therapies.)

204 Anne Griffiths, MD, FRCPC, Hospital for Sick Children Immunosuppressive therapy in IBD: Can we de-escalate therapy?

  • High rate of relapse when biologic therapy is stopped.  Use of an immunomodulator may reduce the relapse rate when stopping an anti-TNF agent

215 Stacy Kahn, MD, Boston Children’s Hospital When it is not IBD … rare forms of intestinal inflammation

  • For patients with milder microscopic colitis, antidiarrheal agents can be given.  For more severe disease, budesonide is effective.

223 Edaire Cheng, MD, UT Southwestern Medical Center  Eosinophilic inflammation beyond the esophagus


Disclaimer: NASPGHAN/gutsandgrowth assumes no responsibility for any use or operation of any method, product, instruction, concept or idea contained in the material herein or for any injury or damage to persons or property (whether products liability, negligence or otherwise) resulting from such use or operation. The discussion, views, and recommendations as to medical procedures, choice of drugs and drug dosages herein are the sole responsibility of the authors. Because of rapid advances in the medical sciences, the Society cautions that independent verification should be made of diagnosis and drug dosages. The reader is solely responsible for the conduct of any suggested test or procedure. Some of the slides reproduced in this syllabus contain animation in the power point version. This cannot be seen in the printed version.

Guidelines: Microscopic Colitis & Vascular Diseases of the Liver

In brief:

AGA Microscopic Colitis Guideline: GC Nguyen et al. Gastroenterol 2016; 150: 242-6. Technical review DS Pardi et al. Gastroenterol 2016; 150: 247-74. Patient guide: pg 275.

EASL Clinical Practice Guidelines: Vascular diseases of the liver. J Hepatology 2016; 64: 179-202.  Topics covered include Budd-Chiari, Portal vein obstruction, Heriditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, veno-occlusive disease of the liver, management of anticoagulation in liver disease

NASPGHAN Postgraduate Course 2014 -Intestinal Inflammation

This blog entry has abbreviated/summarized the presentations. Though not intentional, some important material is likely to have been omitted; in addition, transcription errors are possible as well.

Link: PG Course Syllabus – FINAL (entire syllabus)

The speakers reviewed a lot of IBD material (both at the postgraduate course and at the meeting); much of it has been has been covered in previous blog posts:

Early Onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease –Scott Snapper (Boston Children’s Hospital) pg 170 in Syllabus

  • If one has a 1st degree relative with Crohn’s disease: 26-fold increased risk for IBD compared with 8-fold increased risk if 1st degree relative has ulcerative colitis
  • 30% of children have one or more family members with IBD
  • Concordance rate much greater in monozygotic vs dizygotic twins: 10-15% in UC and 25-30% in Crohn’s with monozygotic

Infantile IBD (age <2 years)

  • Often isolated colonic disease
  • Severe course – refractory to multiple immunosuppressant medications, often requiring surgery, occasionally fatal
  • > 40 % with one or more family members with IBD
  • 25% with infantile IBD have this as their first manifestation of underlying immunodeficiency (pg 174): IPEX, CGD, NEMO, Wiscott-Aldrich, XIAP, common variable immunodeficiency
  • NEOPICS: interNational Early Onset Pediatric IBD Cohort Study. Expanded to 80 Centers (250 scientists) on 5 continents with access to over 1000 VEO-IBD patients
  • IL10 Receptor defect results in infantile onset IBD. Hematopoietic stem cell therapy can be curative. Increased risk of B-cell lymphomas.
  • NCF2 variant (NADPH Oxidase Gene) found in 4% of   (n=11/268)
  • TTC7A mutations (identified by whole exome sequencing) cause apoptotic enterocolitis, intestinal atresias, and SCID (severe combined immunodeficiency) –may not benefit by stem cell transplantation
  • Immune workup for VEO-IBD: immunoglobulins, DHR for CGD, lymphocyte subsets. If negative, further genetic testing (candidate gene testing &/or exome sequencing)

Surgery in Crohn’s Disease –Jason Frischer (Cincinnati Children’s)

  • 28% of CD patients need surgery within 10 years of CD diagnosis; 5.7% within one year.
  • Reviewed principles: conserve bowel, reserved for complications/does not cure Crohn’s disease, strictures can be treated without resection.

Perioperative care

  • Preop-“no answer with regard to biologics,” steroids are detrimental (goal <20 mg of prednisone).  Biologics may increase risk of infections (could be related to specific level) but this is unclear.
  • Postop: thromboprophylaxis

Surgical problems (JPGN 2013; 57: 394 NASPGHAN Guidelines): Abscess, Fistula, Stricture

  • Abscess: percutaneously drain abscess if >2 cm and can remove drain when having less than 10 mL/day. Surgery reserved if refractory to conservative treatment –?timing
  • Strictures: steroids to minimize acute inflammation.  Stricturolplasty rare in pediatrics –used only in those without fistulas. Most common stricturolplasty: Heineke-Mikulicz.
  • In Crohn’s patients at Cincinnati children’s who have undergone ileostomy, long-term only 46% able to have intestinal continuity

Crohn’s and UC What to do when antiTNF isn’t working? –Athos Bousvaros (Boston Children’s) pg 190 in Syllabus

Off-label IBD drugs in children for medically-refractory disease.

Potential Rescue treatments

  •  Calcineurin inhibitors for UC (eg. tacrolimus, cyclosporine)
  •  Thalidomide for Crohn disease
  •  Natalizumab for Crohn disease –>not being used anymore. PML risk
  •  Vedolizumab for Crohn disease and UC
  •  Ustekinumab for Crohn disease
  •  Tofacitinib for UC

Before off-label drugs:

  • Optimize TNF: Make sure the diagnosis is right (eg. exclude CGD), Minimize risk of loss of response (combination therapy, optimize dose, scheduled infusions)
  • Consider surgery -strictures, ulcerative colitis, limited disease

Data for tacrolimus from Boston. n=46. (Watson et al, IBD Journal 2011).  Used most frequently with severe UC.

Data for thalidomide –31 of 49 achieved remission. Lazzerini et al, JAMA. 2013;310(20):2164‐2173.  Side effects -birth defects, neuropathy.  STEPS program.

Data for vedolizumab. Feagan et al NEJM 2013; 369:699.  Remission (in the responders) for ulcerative colitis at 52 weeks:

  • 45% of patients getting vedolizumab monthly
  • 42% of patients getting it every other month
  • 16% of patients randomized to placebo

For Crohns’ disease , Vedolizumab also works in Crohn’s disease, but it takes time (Sands et al: Gastroenterology 2014 147:618‐627)

Off-label does not equate to experimental! pg 199:

FDA Statement: The FD&C Act does not, however, limit the manner in which a physician may use an approved drug. Once a product has been approved for marketing, a physician may prescribe it for uses or in treatment regimens or patient populations that are not included in approved labeling. Such “unapproved” or, more precisely, “unlabeled” uses may be appropriate and rational in certain circumstances, and may, in fact, reflect approaches to drug therapy that have been extensively reported in medical literature.


“Luminitis:” When Inflammation is Not IBD (Microscopic Colitides) –Robbyn Sockolow (Weill Cornell Medical School) pg 180 in Syllabus

Microscopic Colitis -pediatric prevalence unknown (JPGN 2013;57:557-561). Nonbloody diarrhea with normal-appearance grossly.

  • Lymphocytic Colitis (>20 intraepithelial lymphocytes/100 colonocytes) -Normal crypt architecture
  • Collagenous Colitis -Thick layer (up to 30 micrometers) of collagen in the tissue and increased lymphocytes in colon

Eosinophilic colitis

  • At-risk groups?  Infants & post-transplant patients (tacrolimus trigger?) (Saeed et al Pediatr Transplantation 2006: 10: 730–735)
  • Associated with food allergy, IBD, autoimmune diseases
  • Elevated serum IgE.



Microscopic, Lymphocytic and Collagenous Colitis

Microscopic Colitis (MC) is a rare pediatric problems and occurs when chronic diarrhea occurs in the presence of a normal-appearing endoscopic exam but with abnormal histology.  In adult populations, microscopic colitis is seen more frequently and can be confused with irritable bowel syndrome.  The two subtypes:

  • Lymphocytic Colitis (LC):  >20 intraepithelial lymphocytes/100 colonocytes
  • Collagenous Colitis (CC): thickened subeptihelial collagen band in addition to changes seen with LC

In a recent study (JPGN 2013; 57: 557-61), 27 MC cases were identified from a pathology database between 1995-2011.  5 were excluded due to an enteric infection.  Among the 22 other cases, 19 had LC and 3 had CC.  Association with celiac disease was evident in 4 patients and many had preceding drug exposures.

Treatment included steroids, melamine, an bismuth.

Additional references:

  • -JPGN 2011; 53: 579. lymphocytic colitis case report
  • -Clincal Gastro & Hep 2011; 9: 13.  Celaic with persistent symptoms: consider poor adherence**, SBBO*, pancreatic insufficiency*, refractory celiac (rare), PLE, giardia, malignancy, lactose intolerance, functional d/o*, microscopic colitis, Crohn’s*, NSAIDs
  • -Gut 2009; 58: 68-72. Collagenous colitis: Budesonide at 6mg/day maintained remission in ~25%.
  • Gastro 2008; 135: 1510.  Budesonide effective for collagenous colitis; n=48, 9mg/day.
  • -Gastro 2011; 140: 1155. Review of microscopic colitis/collagenous colitis.
  • -Am J Gastroenterol 2010; 105: 859-865.  n=466 & 451 controls.  Microscopic colitis present in 1.5% of IBS patients.  IBS pts with lower incidence of adenomas (7.7.% vs 26%).  9% had diverticulosis (lower).
  • -Clin Gastro & hep 2009; 7: 1210. 4.3% of pts w microscopic colitis had celiac. 44/1009.