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Med Clin (Barc). 2005 Sep 10;125(8):281-5.

[Thiopurine methyltransferase activity in inflammatory bowel disease. A study on 7046 Spanish patients].

[Article in Spanish]

Author information

  • 1Servicio de Aparato Digestivo, Hospital Universitario de la Princesa, Universidad Autónoma, Madrid, Spain. gisbert@meditex.es

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:

Our objective was to assess the activity of thiopurine methyltransferase (TPMT) in a very large number of Spanish patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), to evaluate the influence of several variables (including azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine) on that activity, and to know the proportion of patients with low TPMT activity and therefore high risk of myelotoxicity when treated with these drugs.

PATIENTS AND METHOD:

TPMT activity in red blood cells (RBCs) was measured by a radiochemical method. The association between several variables and TPMT values was assessed by multiple lineal regression.

RESULTS:

7046 patients were included (mean age: 37 years; 53% males): 70% with Crohn's disease, 22% with ulcerative colitis, and 8% with indeterminate colitis. Mean TPMT value was 20 (6) U/ml RBCs (minimum 0 and maximum 46). TPMT activity distribution was as follows: low levels (< 5 U/ml), 0.5%; intermediate (5-13.7), 11.1%; and high (> or = 13.8), 88.4%. TPMT values did not follow a normal distribution (p < 0.001). In the univariate study, statistically significant differences (p < 0.001), yet of doubtly clinical significance because its minimal magnitude, were demonstrated in TPMT values depending on age, sex, type of disease, and treatment with azathioprine/6-mercaptopurine. In the multivariate study, the variables associated with TPMT activity were: sex, treatment with 5-aminosalicylates, steroids and azathioprine/6-mercaptopurine.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study shows that 0.5% of the Spanish patients with IBD have low TPMT activity (< 5 U/ml RBCs), a figure similar to that reported in other countries, these patients being at higher risk of myelotoxicity when treated with azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine. The drugs usually prescribed for the treatment of IBD, including 5-aminosalicylates and azathioprine/6-mercaptopurine, do not seem to modify in a clinically relevant manner TPMT activity.

PMID:
16159550
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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