Journal of gastroenterology and hepatology

Factors affecting short- and long-term effects of leukocyte removal therapy in active ulcerative colitis.

PMID 23339387


Leukocyte removal therapy (LRT) is recognized as an effective treatment for active ulcerative colitis (UC). In this study, factors associated with the efficacy and long-term effects of LRT were evaluated. From April 1998 to March 2010, 98 patients with moderate to severe UC were randomly assigned to granulocyte and monocyte/macrophage adsorptive apheresis (GMA) (n = 47) or leukocytapheresis (LCAP) (n = 51) treatment. Patients received two sessions of LRT in the first week, followed by three weekly administrations. All patients were treated with 5-aminosalicylic acid and corticosteroid. Steroid doses were tapered if patients achieved clinical improvement. Clinical remission was defined as a decrease in clinical activity index to < 4 and endoscopic findings to Matts' grade 1 or 2. When clinical activity index decreased but still remained ≥ 5 and Matts' grading was 1 or 2, the patient was considered to have improved. Patients were observed for at least 1 year and diagnosed as relapsed when additional treatment was required. Seventy-one (73%) patients achieved clinical remission or improvement. No significant difference was found between LCAP and GMA. Increased age, ≥ 3 attacks of UC, and ≥ 2 sessions of LRT were indicative of refractoriness to LRT. During 1 year observation, 28 patients were relapsed. Duration of UC, ≥ 3 attacks of UC, and ≥ 2 sessions of LRT were indicative of refractoriness to the long-term effects of LRT. Both GMA and LCAP were effective to treat active UC. However, long duration of UC, multiple UC attacks, and past history of LRT reduce the efficacy.