Pooled analysis of the comparative efficacy between tacrolimus and infliximab for ulcerative colitis

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Acute moderate-to-severe steroid-refractory ulcerative colitis (UC) has a poor prognosis and requires optimal rescue therapy. A pooled analysis was conducted to assess tacrolimus and infliximab (IFX) as rescue agents in patients with moderate-to-severe and steroid-refractory UC.


A literature search identified studies that investigated tacrolimus and IFX in moderate-to-severe steroid-refractory patients with UC. The primary outcome was short-term clinical response to treatment, including the remission and response rates. Secondary outcomes included the rates of colectomy at 3 months and adverse events rate.


A total of 6 studies comprising 438 cases were eligible for inclusion. The pooled analysis showed that the short-term clinical response rate, clinical remission rate, and 3-month colectomy rate were 72.1%, 52.4%, and 10.1%, respectively, for those receiving tacrolimus, and 76.9%, 48.8%, and 12.4%, respectively, for those receiving IFX. No significant difference was, however, seen for tacrolimus compared with IFX with regard to clinical remission rate (odds ratio [OR] =1.08, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.77–1.49, P = .67), clinical response rate (OR = 0.92, 95% CI = 0.63–1.34, P = .66), and 3-month colectomy rate (OR = 0.86, 95% CI = 0.39–1.93, P = .72). More adverse events were, however, observed in the Tac group (OR = 2.16, 95% CI = 1.25–3.76, P = .006).


Our meta-analysis suggested that both tacrolimus and IFX appeared to be effective and safe for the rescue therapy of moderate-to-severe active UC and steroid-refractory UC. Therefore, tacrolimus is another choice for these patients.

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