Pretreatment 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and durability of anti-tumor necrosis factor-α therapy in inflammatory bowel diseases

JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2014 Mar-Apr;38(3):385-91. doi: 10.1177/0148607113504002. Epub 2013 Oct 2.


Introduction: Emerging evidence supports an immunologic role for 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Here we examined if pretreatment vitamin D status influences durability of anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α therapy in patients with Crohn's disease (CD) or ulcerative colitis (UC).

Methods: All IBD patients who had plasma 25(OH)D level checked <3 months prior to initiating anti-TNF-α therapy were included in this retrospective single-center cohort study. Our main predictor variable was insufficient plasma 25(OH)D (<30 ng/mL). Cox proportional hazards model adjusting for potential confounders was used to identify the independent effect of pretreatment vitamin D on biologic treatment cessation.

Results: Our study included 101 IBD patients (74 CD; median disease duration 9 years). The median index 25(OH)D level was 27 ng/mL (interquartile range, 20-33 ng/mL). One-third of the patients had prior exposure to anti-TNF-α therapy. On multivariate analysis, patients with insufficient vitamin D demonstrated earlier cessation of anti-TNF-α therapy (hazard ratio [HR], 2.13; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03-4.39; P = .04). This effect was significant in patients who stopped treatment for loss of response (HR, 3.49; 95% CI, 1.34-9.09) and stronger for CD (HR, 2.38; 95% CI, 0.95-5.99) than UC (P = NS).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that vitamin D levels may influence durability of anti-TNF-α induction and maintenance therapy. Larger cohort studies and clinical trials of supplemental vitamin D use with disease activity as an end point may be warranted.

Keywords: Crohn’s disease; biologic therapy; ulcerative colitis; vitamin D.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / blood
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / complications
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications
  • Young Adult


  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D