In a recent review study entitled “Type I interferons for induction of remission in ulcerative colitis”, the authors revised clinical studies and concluded that type I interferon therapy, successfully used in several chronic inflammatory diseases, does not induce ulcerative colitis remission in patients with active disease. The study was published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is one of the main types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), together with Crohn’s disease, and is characterized by chronic inflammation particularly of the colon and small intestine.
Type I interferons (IFNs) are a group of cytokines that regulate the activity of the immune system and have been successfully employed to treat several chronic inflammatory conditions. Here, authors investigated whether type I IFN treatment in patients with active UC induces disease remission. To this end, they performed a systematic revision of literature on the efficacy and safety of type I IFN therapy for induction of UC remission published in several databases, including MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, the Cochrane IBD/FBD group specialized register, and ClinicalTrials.gov. Their analysis focused on randomized controlled trials for type I IFNs therapies (without any restriction for type, dose or duration of treatment) for UC remission.
In total, six studies were eligible for inclusion with 517 patients analyzed. The majority of the studies (five) compared type I IFNs administration to placebo injections, and only one study compared IFNs to prednisolone enemas (containing the active ingredient prednisolone, which is a type of medicine known as a corticosteroid) in patients with left-sided colitis.
The research team registered no significant improvement of type I IFNs over placebo for inducing clinical remission, neither it benefited patients with active UC. Moreover, a higher percentage of patients (7%) withdrew from type I IFNS therapy due to adverse events compared to 2% in the group of patients receiving a placebo. When comparing type I IFNs to prednisolone enemas, no differences were registered for quality of life or disease activity scores between both treatments.
Hence, in light of these results, the team concluded that type I IFNs are not an effective therapy for inducing UC remission in patients with active disease.