Inflammatory bowel disease patients experiencing a loss of response to infliximab regain long-term response after undergoing granulocyte/monocyte apheresis: A case series

Cytokine. 2018 Mar;103:25-28. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2017.12.030. Epub 2017 Dec 29.


Up to 50% of patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn's disease (CD) experience a loss of response (LOR) to infliximab after an initial response to the drug. Granulocyte/monocyte apheresis (GMA) with the Adacolumn depletes the activated myeloid leukocytes that are known to exacerbate and perpetuate inflammatory bowel diseases, but GMA has hitherto not been applied to patients with LOR to infliximab. We report three cases (2 UC and 1CD) with LOR to maintenance infliximab therapy that received one GMA session/week for 3 consecutive weeks or more. The disease severity was assessed from the CD activity index or partial Mayo score, and the trough infliximab (TI) level was measured. Upon GMA therapy, all three patients achieved remission for up to 15 months with maintenance infliximab alone. The average plasma TI increased from 0.91 μg/mL to 1.46 μg/mL, with concomitant decreases of C-reactive protein (from 2.33 mg/dL to 0.78 mg/dL), interleukin-6 (from 8.4 pg/mL to 3.4 pg/mL), and interleukin-17A (from 0.21 pg/mL to 0.03 pg/mL). To our best knowledge, this is the first report of adding a non-drug GMA to restore the efficacy of infliximab. The outcomes, albeit in three cases, are relevant in therapeutic settings and should inspire further studies in a larger number of patients.

Keywords: Adsorptive granulocyte/monocyte apheresis; Crohn’s disease; Infliximab; Loss of response; Ulcerative colitis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / blood
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infliximab / administration & dosage*
  • Infliximab / adverse effects
  • Interleukin-17 / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Leukapheresis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors


  • IL17A protein, human
  • IL6 protein, human
  • Interleukin-17
  • Interleukin-6
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Infliximab