Systematic review with network meta-analysis: comparative assessment of tofacitinib and biological therapies for moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis

S. Bonovas, T. Lytras, G. Nikolopoulos, L. Peyrin-Biroulet, S. Danese

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Biological therapies have improved the care of patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). Tofacitinib, an oral small-molecule Janus kinase inhibitor, is potentially a new treatment option. Aim: To comparatively assess efficacy and harm of tofacitinib and biologics (infliximab, adalimumab, golimumab and vedolizumab) in adult patients not previously exposed to TNF antagonists. Methods: We performed a comprehensive search of PubMed, Embase, Scopus, clinical trial registries, regulatory authorities' websites and major conference proceedings, through August 2017, to identify randomised, placebo-controlled or head-to-head trials assessing tofacitinib or biologics as induction and/or maintenance therapy in moderate-to-severe UC. Two reviewers independently extracted study data and outcomes, and investigated each trial's risk-of-bias. We used conventional meta-analysis to synthesise direct evidence, and network meta-analysis for adjusted indirect treatment comparisons. Results: Fifteen randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials (n = 3130) contributed data for induction: All treatments are superior to placebo. Indirect treatment comparisons showed that infliximab is better than adalimumab (OR: 2.01, 95% CI: 1.36-2.98) and golimumab (1.67, 1.08-2.59) in clinical response, better than adalimumab (2.10, 1.21-3.64) in clinical remission, and better than adalimumab (1.87, 1.26-2.79) and golimumab (1.75, 1.13-2.73) in mucosal healing. No indirect comparisons between tofacitinib and biologics reached statistical significance. Nine studies (n = 1776) contributed maintenance data showing that all treatments have higher clinical efficacy than placebo. Safety analyses indicated no increased rates of adverse events for the treatments under evaluation (except for infliximab), while vedolizumab may have an advantage regarding the occurrence of serious adverse events. Conclusions: Tofacitinib and biologics are efficacious and safe for UC. Further high-quality research is warranted to establish the best therapeutic option.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-465
Number of pages12
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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