This study examined the long-term maintenance rate after inducing remission by intensive granulocyte/monocyte adsorptive apheresis (GMA) without use of corticosteroids (CS) and GMA re-treatment efficacy in the same patients upon relapse with ulcerative colitis. Patients who achieved clinical remission and mucosal healing (MH) by first-time intensive GMA (first GMA) without CS were enrolled. The cumulative non-relapse survival rate up to week 156 was calculated. Patients with relapse during the maintenance period underwent second-time intensive GMA (second GMA) without CS. Clinical remission and MH rates following second GMA were compared to those following first GMA in the same patients. Of the 84 patients enrolled, 78 were followed until week 156 and 34 demonstrated relapse. The cumulative non-relapse survival rate by week 156 was 56.4%. Clinical remission and MH rates after second GMA did not differ from those after first GMA in the same patients (week 6: clinical remission, 100% vs 88.4%, p = 0.134; MH, 100% vs 84.8%, p = 0.074). In conclusion, MH induction by intensive GMA without use of CS in ulcerative colitis patients contributes to subsequent long-term clinical remission maintenance. GMA re-treatment efficacy was comparable to that of first GMA in the same patients who had relapse.
Keywords: intensive GMA; re-treatment; remission maintenance; ulcerative colitis.
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