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Am J Gastroenterol. 2008 Mar;103(3):637-42. Epub 2007 Nov 28.

Predictive factors of response to cyclosporine in steroid-refractory ulcerative colitis.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), Saint-Antoine Hospital, Paris, France.



Cyclosporine is an effective rescue therapy in steroid-refractory ulcerative colitis (UC) and may avoid immediate colectomy. However, the individual's response to cyclosporine is poorly predictable. The aim of this study was to identify predictive factors of the response to cyclosporine in steroid-refractory UC.


One hundred thirty-five patients with steroid-refractory UC, admitted consecutively between 1992 and 2004, were included. Data were collected on the first day of the cyclosporine therapy. Colonoscopy was performed within 2 days preceding or following the cyclosporine treatment in 118 patients for assessing the presence of severe endoscopic lesions.


The actuarial rate of colectomy was 0.45 at 6 months. Cox analysis in the whole population selected three predictive criteria of colectomy: body temperature >37.5 degrees C (adjusted hazard ratio = 1.94, 95% confidence interval 1.51-2.49), heart rate >90 bpm (1.86, 1.45-2.38), and C-reactive protein (CRP) >45 mg/L (1.70, 1.34-2.16). In the 118 patients who underwent colonoscopy, the presence of severe endoscopic lesions was an independent predictive factor of colectomy (2.38, 1.80-3.14). Colonoscopy was decisive and changed the therapeutic decision in patients with one or two criteria: 71% of the patients with severe endoscopic lesions were colectomized versus 17% of the patients without severe endoscopic lesions (P < 0.001). Finally, the clinical, biological, and endoscopic criteria allowed the classification of the patients into two different groups (80%vs 20% colectomy at 6 months).


In patients with steroid-refractory UC, the combination of simple criteria is useful to predict the response to cyclosporine. Colonoscopy is crucial in patients with intermediate clinical and biological severity.

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