Granulocyte-monocyte apheresis is a relatively new therapy that has been proposed, sometimes with controversial results, for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, particularly ulcerative colitis. The aim of the present study was to perform a thorough review of the literature on the application of this type of treatment in ulcerative colitis and discuss the results, in order to provide an opinion on its use which is shared by the involved experts. The review of the literature was performed by searching PubMed with appropriate key words. The results obtained suggest that the major role for this treatment at this moment is for those patients with steroid dependency or with major contraindications to use of steroids. However, promising, albeit very preliminary, results have also been observed in steroid-naïve subjects, and this is of particular interest in consideration of the safety profile of this therapeutic method. As such, the Adacolumn may prove useful in specific subgroups of patients. Future phenotypic, genotypic, and molecular characterization of patients with inflammatory bowel disease might prove useful in defining better those subjects who might benefit most from this treatment modality.
Keywords: apheresis; guidelines; inflammatory bowel disease; ulcerative colitis.