Background and aims: The role of infliximab in the treatment of patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) in Asia is still unclear. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical outcomes of infliximab therapy in Korean UC patients, including efficacy and predictors of response.
Methods: Patients who received infliximab induction therapy for moderate to severe UC at Asan Medical Center were retrospectively analyzed. The demographic characteristics of these patients and their clinical outcomes following infliximab therapy were evaluated.
Results: Of the 89 UC patients receiving infliximab induction therapy, 53 (59.6%) were steroid-refractory and 36 (40.4%) were steroid-dependent. At the initiation of infliximab, the median Mayo score was 9 (range 7-12). After the induction therapy of infliximab, 59 patients (66.3%) demonstrated a clinical response at week 8, of which 29 (32.6%) were determined to be in clinical remission. A colectomy was performed within 1 year after infliximab initiation in 11 (36.7%) of 30 patients who displayed no clinical response to infliximab therapy, but in none of the 59 patients who showed a response to this drug (p<0.001). Multivariate regression analysis identified severe disease (Mayo score≥11) at the initiation of infliximab (p=0.007) and history of cytomegalovirus colitis within 3 months prior to infliximab treatment (p=0.001) as independent positive predictors of nonresponse to infliximab.
Conclusions: The efficacy of infliximab in Korean UC patients seems to be similar to that of previously published Western reports. Severe disease and a history of cytomegalovirus colitis are predictors of a nonresponse to infliximab.