Objectives: To investigate if the combined assessment of anti-infliximab antibodies (Ab) and the degree of TNF-alpha binding capacity (TNF-alpha-BC) afforded by infliximab may predict the response to infliximab treatment in patients with Crohn's disease (CD).
Methods: Three groups of CD patients, in total 33 patients, treated with infliximab were retrospectively selected: (a) patients with a maintained response throughout treatment; (b) patients with good initial response, but subsequent loss of response; and (c) patients with inadequate response to the first two or three doses. Blood samples were analyzed for TNF-alpha-BC and Ab using fluid-phase radioimmunoassay (RIA).
Results: At 8 wk after last infliximab infusion, TNF-alpha-BC was significantly higher (P = 0.002) in patients maintaining response (median [interquartile range] 2.9 [0.9-4.3] microg/mL), as compared to patients losing response (0.0 [0-0.1] microg/mL). Conversely, Ab levels were significantly lower (P < 0.0001) in patients maintaining response (1.3 [0-6]% bound tracer/total tracer), as compared to patients losing response (19 [14-27]%). Ab were not present and TNF-alpha-BC was high (30 [20-32]) in patients with no primary response.
Conclusions: While secondary loss of response to infliximab is associated with high levels of Ab and low levels of TNF-alpha-BC, primary response failure may be seen in the presence of high effective levels of TNF-alpha-BC afforded by infliximab. The results suggest that combined assessment of anti-infliximab Ab and serum TNF-alpha-BC may pave the way for a more rational use of infliximab in patients with CD.