Review article: minimizing tuberculosis during anti-tumour necrosis factor-alpha treatment of inflammatory bowel disease
Version of Record online: 17 OCT 2007
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Volume 27, Issue 1, pages 19–30, January 2008
How to Cite
THEIS, V. S. and RHODES, J. M. (2008), Review article: minimizing tuberculosis during anti-tumour necrosis factor-alpha treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 27: 19–30. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2007.03553.x
- Issue online: 17 OCT 2007
- Version of Record online: 17 OCT 2007
- Publication data Submitted 28 June 2007 First decision 14 July 2007 Resubmitted 7 October 2007 Accepted 12 October 2007
Background Tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha inhibitors are a major advance in the management of inflammatory bowel disease but increase the risk for tuberculosis (TB).
Aim To examine the reasons for the increase in the risk for TB and the strategies to reduce it.
Methods PubMed searches were performed using search terms that included TB and each of the current anti-TNF-alpha biological agents and also TB and Crohn’s disease.
Results Increased susceptibility to TB, often with extrapulmonary or disseminated disease, occurs following treatment with all anti-TNF-alpha biological agents and amounts to a four- to 20-fold increased risk with infliximab. TB usually occurs shortly after anti-TNF-alpha initiation suggesting reactivation of latent infection. Animal studies show that TNF-alpha inhibition impairs inflammatory cell trafficking and granuloma formation. Currently recommended screening for latent TB typically, risk assessment, tuberculin skin testing and chest radiograph used prior to anti-TNF-alpha treatment can reduce TB rates by up to 90% but newer screening interferon gamma assays may enhance screening efficacy. Patients positive on screening who are treated with isoniazid and subsequently receive anti-TNF-alpha treatment still have approximately 19% risk for TB.
Conclusions Tuberculosis following treatment with TNF-alpha inhibitors usually results from reactivation of latent disease. Screening reduces the risk substantially but does not completely eliminate it.