Background:: The efficacy of infliximab for endoscopic recurrence after resection of Crohn's disease (CD) has not yet been reported. The aim of this prospective study was to investigate the impact of infliximab on early endoscopic lesions after resection for CD.
Methods:: Twenty‐six patients maintaining clinical remission (CD activity index [CDAI] score <150) with mesalamine (3 g/day) after resection showed endoscopic recurrence in the neoterminal ileum at 6 months postoperatively (=baseline). Over the following 6 months, 10 patients were treated with continuous mesalamine (3 g/day), 8 patients were treated with azathioprine therapy (50 mg/day), and the other 8 patients were treated with infliximab therapy (5 mg/kg, every 8 weeks). During ileocolonoscopy at baseline and 6 months later, mucosal biopsies were taken for cytokine assays.
Results:: During 6‐month observation, no patients in the infliximab group, 3 (38%) in the azathioprine group, and 7 (70%) in the mesalamine group developed clinical recurrence (CDAI ≥150) (P = 0.01). At 6 months, endoscopic inflammation was improved in 75% of patients in the infliximab group, 38% in the azathioprine group, and 0% in the mesalamine group (P = 0.006). The mucosal interleukin (IL)‐1β, IL‐6, and tumor necrosis factor‐α levels significantly decreased in the infliximab group, while they significantly increased in the mesalamine group, and they did not change significantly in the azathioprine group.
Conclusions:: Infliximab therapy showed clear suppressive effects on clinical and endoscopic disease activity, and mucosal cytokine production in patients with early endoscopic lesions after resection. To confirm our conclusions, randomized controlled trials with a larger number of patients are necessary.