Scientific corner

Current status and future perspectives of leukocytapheresis for inflammatory bowel disease.

Ken Fukunaga 1Takayuki Matsumoto, J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Jun;27(6):997-1003.

Ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD) comprise the idiopathic inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) of the gut. The etiology of IBD is poorly understood, but an autoimmune disturbance has been suggested to play an important role in this incurable disease. Extracorporeal leukocytapheresis (CAP) is an additional adjunct for IBD patients refractory to other conventional therapies, including steroids. The primary aim of CAP should be to suppress such unwanted immunological response by removing circulating inflammatory cells from the blood stream. The first decade has been passed since CAP was approved by Japanese social health insurance policy. It is therefore now an appropriate opportunity to upgrade and summarize our current understandings and/or future perspectives of this unique non-pharmacological and non-surgical strategy for IBD patients. According to several clinical and basic research reports, an early introduction of CAP should produce higher efficacy as compared with CAP applied sometime after a clinical relapse. Likewise, CAP therapy adjusted to patients’ body-weight as well as two treatment sessions per week (intensive regimen) should benefit the efficacy rate. The etiology of IBD is not fully elucidated yet. As a result, the major therapeutic strategies in the Western world have been immunosuppressive therapy, including biologics. CAP is an unusual treatment modality for IBD because it seems to have both effectiveness and safety, which should generally be balanced in this type of illness. We now have to develop future strategies with and without combining biologics to improve the quality of life of IBD patients.

Scientific corner

The Relevance of the Processed Blood Volume per Granulocyte and Monocyte Apheresis Session to its Clinical Efficacy in Patients with Ulcerative Colitis

Risa Kikuyama 1Ken FukunagaMikio KawaiYoko YokoyamaKoji KamikozuruNobuyuki HidaYoshio OhdaNaohisa TakedaKoji YoshidaMasaki IimuroKyoichi KatoTomoaki KonoKoji NogamiKazuko NagaseShiro NakamuraYoshiyuki TakeiHiroto MiwaTakayuki Matsumoto, Ther Apher Dial. 2011 Aug;15(4):360-6.

Granulocyte/monocyte adsorption (GMA) has been introduced as an adjunct intervention for active ulcerative colitis (UC) patients. The processed blood volume (PV) per GMA session is an important factor for its efficacy because depletion of elevated/activated myeloid leukocytes is its main action. Hitherto, this aspect of GMA has been largely ignored. Thirty-three patients were enrolled for remission induction therapy with five weekly GMA sessions at a standard PV of 1800 mL, regardless of patients’ bodyweight (BW). The patients were divided into three groups: high (H)BW (≥ 65 kg, n = 11), 50 kg ≤ medium (M)BW < 65 kg (n = 12), and low (L)BW (≤ 50 kg, n = 10). UC clinical activity index (CAI) was according to Lichtiger, and the clinical efficacies were evaluated at both one week post 3(rd) GMA (Week 4) and one week post 5(th) GMA (Week 6). The average BW was 70.9 ± 6.2 kg in HBW, 55.8 ± 4.5 kg in MBW, and 46.8 ± 1.2 kg in LBW, indicating the mean PV/BW in the three groups being 25.6 ± 2.12, 32.5 ± 2.50, and 38.7 ± 1.0 (mL/kg, P < 0.05), respectively. The LBW group consisted of female patients only. Significant improvements of CAI were seen before treatment at either Week 4 or Week 6 in all groups. A significantly higher remission rate was achieved in the LBW (80.0%) vs. MBW (33.3%) or HBW (27.3%) at Week 6 (P < 0.03). According to this GMA evaluation, the lower-limit of optimum PV/kg should be higher than 38.7 mL/kg for its potential clinical efficacy to be significantly greater than the routine GMA method. Additional BW-oriented GMA studies in larger and gender controlled cohorts of patients should strengthen our findings.

Scientific corner

Leukocytapheresis in pediatric patients with ulcerative colitis

Takeshi Tomomasa 1Hitoshi TajiriSeiichi KagimotoToshiaki ShimizuAtsushi YodenKosuke UshijimaKeiichi UchidaHiroaki KanekoDaiki AbukawaMutsuko KonnoShun-ichi MaisawaTakao KohsakaAkio KobayashiJapanese Study Group for Pediatric Ulcerative Colitis J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2011 Jul;53(1):34-9. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e31821058bc.

Objective: Leukocytapheresis (LCAP) is a nonpharmacologic therapy that has recently been used to treat ulcerative colitis (UC). This multicenter open-label study prospectively assessed the efficacy and safety of LCAP in pediatric patients with UC. Patients and methods: Twenty-three patients ages 8 to 16 years with moderate (n = 19) to severe (n = 4) steroid-resistant UC were enrolled. One of 2 LCAP columns with different volumes (model EX and the half-volume model EI) was selected, according to body weight. LCAP was performed once per week for 5 consecutive weeks. Clinical and laboratory data were collected at predetermined time points. The primary endpoint was decreased stool frequency/hematochezia score, and secondary endpoints were clinical, laboratory, and endoscopic improvements. Results: The stool frequency/hematochezia score decreased significantly from 4.5 ± 1.2 before treatment to 1.6 ± 1.9 after the fifth treatment. Clinical parameters, including stool frequency, presence of visible blood, abdominal pain, and body temperature, were significantly improved. Fecal calprotectin decreased significantly. Endoscopic findings evaluated using Matts score also improved (P < 0.01). The steroid dose decreased from 1.1 ± 0.4 mg/kg before treatment to 0.8 ± 0.5 mg/kg after treatment. There were no significant differences in changes between the EX and EI columns. The incidence of adverse effects was 61%, although none was serious. The most common adverse effects were decreased hematocrit and hemoglobin concentration. Conclusions: The present study showed that LCAP was well tolerated in children with UC, mostly moderate, and was as effective as in adults. The types of pediatric patients best suited to LCAP remain to be determined.

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