Granulocyte and monocyte apheresis as an adjunctive therapy to induce and maintain clinical remission in ulcerative colitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

BMJ Open. 2021 May 19;11(5):e042374. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-042374.


Objective: The goal of treatment in ulcerative colitis (UC) is to induce and maintain remission. The addition of granulocyte and monocyte apheresis (GMA) to conventional therapy may be a promising therapeutic alternative. In this meta-analysis, we aimed to assess the efficacy and safety profile of GMA as an adjunctive therapy.

Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Methods: We searched four databases (MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials) for randomised or minimised controlled trials which discussed the impact of additional GMA therapy on clinical remission induction and clinical remission maintenance compared with conventional therapy alone. Primary outcomes were clinical remission induction and maintenance, secondary outcomes were adverse events (AEs) and steroid-sparing effect. ORs with 95% CIs were calculated. Trial Sequential Analyses were performed to adjusts for the risk of random errors in meta-analyses.

Results: A total of 11 studies were eligible for meta-analysis. GMA was clearly demonstrated to induce and maintain clinical remission more effectively than conventional therapy alone (598 patients: OR: 1.93, 95% CI 1.28 to 2.91, p=0.002, I2=0.0% for induction; 71 patients: OR: 8.34, 95% CI 2.64 to 26.32, p<0.001, I2=0.0% for maintenance). There was no statistically significant difference in the number of AEs (OR: 0.27, 95% CI 0.05 to 1.50, p=0.135, I2=84.2%).

Conclusion: GMA appears to be more effective as an adjunctive treatment in inducing and maintaining remission in patients with UC than conventional therapy alone.

Prospero registration number: CRD42019134050.

Keywords: gastroenterology; haematology; immunology; inflammatory bowel disease.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Component Removal*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative* / therapy
  • Granulocytes
  • Humans
  • Monocytes
  • Remission Induction