Ultrasonographic Changes at 12 Weeks of Anti-TNF Drugs Predict 1-year Sonographic Response and Clinical Outcome in Crohn's Disease: A Multicenter Study

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The objective was to assess the long-term effect of biological treatment on transmural lesions of Crohn's disease evaluated with ultrasound, including contrast-enhanced ultrasound.


Fifty-one patients with active Crohn's disease were included in a prospective multicenter longitudinal study. All patients underwent a clinical assessment and sonographic examination at baseline, 12 weeks after treatment initiation, and after 1-year of treatment. Patients were clinically followed at least 2 years from inclusion until the end of the study. Ultrasonographic evaluation included bowel wall thickness, color Doppler grade, parietal enhancement, and presence of transmural complications or stenosis. Sonographic changes after treatment were classified as normalization, improvement, or lack of response.


Improvement at 52 weeks was more frequent in patients with improvement at final of induction (12 weeks) compared with patients who did not improve (85% versus 28%; P < 0.0001). One-year sonographic evolution correlated with clinical response; 28 of the 29 (96.5%) patients with sonographic improvement at 52 weeks showed clinical remission or response. Patients without sonographic improvement at 52 weeks of treatment were more likely to have a change or intensification in medication or surgery (13/20, 65%) during the next year of follow-up than patients with improvement on the sonography (3/28, 11%). Stricturing behavior was the only sonographic feature associated to a negative predictive value of response (P = 0.0001).


Sonographic response after 12 weeks of therapy is more pronounced and predicts 1-year sonographic response. Sonographic response at 1-year examination correlates with 1-year clinical response and is a predictor of further treatment's efficacy, 1-year or longer period of follow-up.

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