Background: Adalimumab (Ada) treatment is an available option for pediatric Crohn's disease (CD) and the published experience as rescue therapy is limited.
Objectives: We investigated Ada efficacy in a retrospective, pediatric CD cohort who had failed previous infliximab treatment, with a minimum follow-up of 6 months.
Methods: In this multicenter study, data on demographics, clinical activity, growth, laboratory values (CRP) and adverse events were collected from CD patients during follow-up. Clinical remission (CR) and response were defined with Pediatric CD Activity Index (PCDAI) score ≤10 and a decrease in PCDAI score of ≥12.5 from baseline, respectively.
Results: A total of 44 patients were consecutively recruited (mean age 14.8 years): 34 of 44 (77%) had active disease (mean PCDAI score 24.5) at the time of Ada administration, with a mean disease duration of 3.4 (range 0.3-11.2) years. At 6, 12, and 18 months, out of the total of the enrolled population, CR rates were 55%, 78%, and 52%, respectively, with a significant decrease in PCDAI scores (P<0.01) and mean CRP values (mean CRP 5.7 and 2.4 mL/dL, respectively; P<0.01) at the end of follow-up. Steroid-free remission rates, considered as the total number of patients in CR who were not using steroids at the end of this study, were 93%, 95%, and 96% in 44 patients at 6, 12, and 18 months, respectively. No significant differences in growth parameters were detected. In univariate analysis of variables related to Ada efficacy, we found that only a disease duration >2 years was negatively correlated with final PCDAI score (P<0.01). Two serious adverse events were recorded: 1 meningitis and 1 medulloblastoma.
Conclusion: Our data confirm Ada efficacy in pediatric patients as second-line biological therapy after infliximab failure. Longer-term prospective data are warranted to define general effectiveness and safety in pediatric CD patients.