Background: Gut-selective blockade of lymphocyte trafficking by vedolizumab may constitute effective treatment for ulcerative colitis.
Methods: We conducted two integrated randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of vedolizumab in patients with active disease. In the trial of induction therapy, 374 patients (cohort 1) received vedolizumab (at a dose of 300 mg) or placebo intravenously at weeks 0 and 2, and 521 patients (cohort 2) received open-label vedolizumab at weeks 0 and 2, with disease evaluation at week 6. In the trial of maintenance therapy, patients in either cohort who had a response to vedolizumab at week 6 were randomly assigned to continue receiving vedolizumab every 8 or 4 weeks or to switch to placebo for up to 52 weeks. A response was defined as a reduction in the Mayo Clinic score (range, 0 to 12, with higher scores indicating more active disease) of at least 3 points and a decrease of at least 30% from baseline, with an accompanying decrease in the rectal bleeding subscore of at least 1 point or an absolute rectal bleeding subscore of 0 or 1.
Results: Response rates at week 6 were 47.1% and 25.5% among patients in the vedolizumab group and placebo group, respectively (difference with adjustment for stratification factors, 21.7 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], 11.6 to 31.7; P<0.001). At week 52, 41.8% of patients who continued to receive vedolizumab every 8 weeks and 44.8% of patients who continued to receive vedolizumab every 4 weeks were in clinical remission (Mayo Clinic score ≤2 and no subscore >1), as compared with 15.9% of patients who switched to placebo (adjusted difference, 26.1 percentage points for vedolizumab every 8 weeks vs. placebo [95% CI, 14.9 to 37.2; P<0.001] and 29.1 percentage points for vedolizumab every 4 weeks vs. placebo [95% CI, 17.9 to 40.4; P<0.001]). The frequency of adverse events was similar in the vedolizumab and placebo groups.
Conclusions: Vedolizumab was more effective than placebo as induction and maintenance therapy for ulcerative colitis. (Funded by Millennium Pharmaceuticals; GEMINI 1 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00783718.).