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Granulocytapheresis is useful as an alternative therapy in patients with steroid-refractory or -dependent ulcerative colitis

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Abstract

Background:

Recently, granulocyte and monocyte adsorption apheresis (GCAP) has been shown to be safe and effective for active ulcerative colitis (UC). We analyzed the safety and efficacy of GCAP (G-1 Adacolumn) in patients with steroid-refractory and -dependent UC. G-1 Adacolumn is filled with cellulose acetate carriers that selectively adsorb granulocytes and monocytes/macrophages.

Methods:

Forty-four patients with UC were treated with GCAP. These patients received 5 apheresis sessions over 4 weeks. Twenty patients had steroid-refractory UC (group 1) and 10 had steroid-dependent UC (group 2). Fourteen patients who did not want re-administration of steroids were treated with GCAP at the time of relapse, just after discontinuation of steroid therapy (group 3).

Results:

Of 44 patients treated with GCAP, 24 (55%) obtained remission (CAI ≤ 4), 9 (20%) showed a clinical response, and 11 (25%) remained unchanged. Only 2 of 10 patients (20%) with severe steroid-refractory UC (CAI ≥ 12) achieved remission, whereas 7 of 10 patients (70%) with moderate steroid-refractory UC achieved remission (p < 0.05). The dose of corticosteroids was tapered in 9 of 10 (90%) patients with steroid-dependent UC after GCAP therapy. Twelve (86%) of 14 patients in group 3 showed an improvement in symptoms and could avoid re-administration of steroids after GCAP. No severe adverse effects occurred.

Conclusions:

The findings of this study suggest that GCAP may be a useful alternative therapy for patients with moderate steroid-refractory or -dependent UC, although cyclosporin A or colectomy is necessary in patients with severe UC. GCAP may also be useful for avoiding re-administration of steroids at the time of relapse. Randomized, controlled clinical trials are needed to confirm these findings.

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