Author(s): Netzer P, Gschossmann JM, Straumann A, Sendensky A, Weimann R,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Eosinophilic oesophagitis (EO) is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the oesophagus that is rapidly increasing in prevalence. Although systemic and topical corticosteroids are effective in treating EO, some patients develop corticosteroid dependency. Alternative therapeutic approaches that avoid corticosteroids are scarce. AIM: To analyse our experience at inducing and maintaining remission with an immunomodulatory therapy in steroid-dependent EO patients. METHODS: We analysed the clinical and histological response to azathioprine (AZA) and 6-mercaptopurine in three patients with EO (one also with eosinophilic gastroenteritis) and corticosteroid dependency. RESULTS: In all three patients, AZA or 6-mercaptopurine-induced clinical and histological remission that was maintained during the follow-up period (range 3-8 years). Two patients experienced relapses after ceasing AZA therapy. Remission, however, resumed when short-term corticosteroid treatment was followed by AZA. In all the patients, blood eosinophilia disappeared under AZA treatment. Only jumbo biopsies confirmed suspected EO with predominant muscle-layer involvement in one patient. CONCLUSION: In adult patients with corticosteroid-dependent EO, immunomodulatory treatment with purine analogues is a promising therapeutic approach for inducing and maintaining long-term remission without the need for further corticosteroids. Jumbo forcep biopsies might be needed to confirm a diagnosis of muscle-layer predominant EO.
This article was published in Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol
and referenced in Journal of Hepatology and Gastrointestinal disorders