Benefits and risks of combining anti-tumor necrosis factor with immunomodulator therapy in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease

Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2015 Apr;21(4):951-61. doi: 10.1097/MIB.0000000000000245.


Since the introduction of anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy as treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), care of pediatric and adult patients with IBD has significantly improved. To further improve treatment efficacy and durability, multiple trials have compared the efficacy of combination therapy, using anti-TNF therapy combined with an immunomodulator (a thiopurine or methotrexate), with that of anti-TNF monotherapy with contradicting results. The safety of combined therapy has been questioned after several reported cases of hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma in young patients with IBD so treated. Physicians prescribing anti-TNF therapy to patients with IBD are required to weigh the benefits of combined therapy with its risks. To inform physicians treating children with IBD of these benefits and risks, we reviewed studies in pediatric and adult patients with IBD comparing efficacy, durability, and/or safety of combined therapy with anti-TNF monotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha