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Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr. 2018 Jan;21(1):1-11. doi: 10.5223/pghn.2018.21.1.1. Epub 2018 Jan 12.

Early Biologic Treatment in Pediatric Crohn's Disease: Catching the Therapeutic Window of Opportunity in Early Disease by Treat-to-Target.

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Department of Pediatrics, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.
Department of Pediatrics, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


The emergence of mucosal healing as a treatment goal that could modify the natural course of Crohn's disease and the accumulating evidence showing that biologics are most effective in achieving mucosal healing, along with the success of early treatment regimens for rheumatoid arthritis, have led to the identification of early Crohn's disease and development of the concept of catching the therapeutic window during the early disease course. Thus, an increasing number of pediatric gastroenterologists are adopting an early biologic treatment strategy with or without an immunomodulator. Although early biologic treatment is effective, cost and overtreatment are issues that limit its early use. Currently, there are insufficient data on who will benefit most from early biologics, as well as on who will not need early or even any biologics. For now, top-down biologics should be considered for patients with currently known high-risk factors of poor outcomes. For other patients, close, objective monitoring and accelerating the step-up process by means of a treat-to-target approach seems the best way to catch the therapeutic window in early pediatric Crohn's disease. The individual benefits of immunomodulator addition during early biologic treatment should be weighed against its risks and decision on early combination treatment should be made after comprehensive discussion with each patient and guardian.


Accelerated step-up; Crohn disease; Mucosal healing; Pediatrics; Top-down; Treat-to-target

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