Background: The randomised controlled ASTIC trial showed no benefit of mobilisation and autologous haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) compared with mobilisation followed by conventional therapy using a stringent primary endpoint (steroid-free clinical remission for 3 months with no endoscopic or radiological evidence of intestinal inflammation) in patients with treatment-refractory Crohn's disease. We now assess HSCT in patients enrolled in the ASTIC trial using endpoints that are traditional for clinical trials in Crohn's disease, and identify factors that predict benefit or harm.
Methods: Patients who underwent mobilisation and were randomly assigned to conventional therapy in the ASTIC trial were offered HSCT at 1 year and underwent complete assessment for a further year. We report analyses of the combined cohort of patients who underwent HSCT at any time during the ASTIC trial programme. The primary outcome for this analysis was 3-month steroid-free clinical remission at 1 year after HSCT (Crohn's Disease Activity Index [CDAI] <150). We also examined the degree of endoscopic healing at 1 year. Multivariate analysis was performed to identify factors associated with achieving the primary endpoint by using logistic regression, and factors associated with experiencing a serious adverse event using Poisson regression. Participants were not masked to treatment, but the adjudication panel that reviewed radiology and endoscopy was masked to allocation and visits. All patients who underwent HSCT and had data available at baseline and 1-year follow-up were included in the primary and safety analysis. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00297193.
Findings: Between June 28, 2007, and Sept 1, 2011, 45 patients were enrolled in the ASTIC trial from 11 European transplant units. 23 patients were randomly assigned to immediate HSCT, and 22 patients were assigned to mobilisation followed by conventional care. After completion of the ASTIC trial, 17 patients from the conventional care group received HSCT. In the combined cohort, data were available for 40 patients at baseline and 38 patients at 1 year after HSCT (one patient died, one withdrew). At 1 year after HSCT, 3-month steroid-free clinical remission was seen in 13 (38%, 95% CI 22-55) of 34 patients with available data for the whole year. Complete endoscopic healting was noted in 19 (50%, 34-66) of 38 patients. On multivariate analyses, factors associated with the primary outcome were short disease duration (odds ratio [OR] 0·64, 95% CI 0·41-0·997 per year; p=0·048) and low baseline CDAI (0·82, 0·74-0·98 per 10 units; p=0·031). 76 serious adverse events occurred in 23 of 40 patients with available data. The most common serious adverse event was infection, most of which were treatment related. Smoking and perianal disease at baseline were independent factors associated with the number of serious adverse events (OR 3·07 [95% CI 1·75-5·38; p=0·0001] for smoking and 3·97 [2·17-7·25; p<0·0001] for perianal disease) on multivariate analysis.
Interpretation: When assessed using endpoints traditional for clinical trials of conventional therapy in Crohn's disease, HSCT resulted in clinical and endoscopic benefit, although it was associated with a high burden of adverse events. The prognostic factors identified could allow the therapy to be targeted to patients most likely to benefit and not experience serious adverse events.
Funding: Broad Medical Research Program, National Institute for Health Research Senior Investigator Award, The University of Nottingham Medical School Dean's Fund, and The Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust Research and Development Fund.
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