Remission maintenance by tioguanine in chronic active Crohn's disease.
ABSTRACT Tioguanine may offer an alternative for immunosuppression in chronic active Crohn's disease. Recently, we have shown that tioguanine is effective in inducing rapid remission.
To evaluate the role of tioguanine in the maintenance of remission in chronic active Crohn's disease.
A follow-up study was performed to investigate the long-term efficacy and safety of and tolerance to tioguanine in chronic active Crohn's disease. Sixteen patients who had successfully received 6-tioguanine for remission induction were enrolled. The reasons for immunosuppressive therapy were steroid dependence (n = 10), steroid refractoriness (n = 6) and intolerance (n = 6) or refractoriness (n = 1) to azathioprine. After remission induction therapy for 6 months, patients were treated for another 6 months with a daily dose of 20-40 mg tioguanine. Primary outcomes were remission (Crohn's disease activity index < 150) and complete steroid reduction in steroid-dependent patients at 12 months. Laboratory controls of white blood count and liver enzymes, as well as erythrocyte tioguanine nucleotide levels, were performed regularly.
After 12 months of treatment, 14 of 16 (88%) patients were in remission, and 12 of these were completely free of systemic steroids. Adverse events during maintenance therapy included photosensitivity (one patient), minor viral infections (one), headache (four) and mild alopecia (one). One patient developed elevated liver enzymes, splenomegaly and thrombocytopenia, indicative of nodular regenerative hyperplasia of the liver.
In responders to tioguanine, the drug appears to be very effective in maintaining remission of chronic active Crohn's disease. Unfortunately, long-term hepatotoxicity seems to be an unpredictable and potentially severe adverse drug reaction. Therefore, to date, tioguanine cannot be recommended for general use outside clinical trials.
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ABSTRACT: To assess the effectiveness of azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine in inducing remission of active Crohn disease and the effectiveness of azathioprine in maintaining remission of quiescent disease. Pertinent studies were selected from the MEDLINE database (1966 to May 1994), abstracts from major gastrointestinal meetings, and references from published articles and reviews. Nine randomized, placebo-controlled trials of azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine therapy were identified: Four addressed active disease, two addressed quiescent disease, and three had multiple therapeutic arms. Data were extracted by three independent observers on the basis of the intention-to-treat principle and were analyzed with logistic regression. Each study was given a quality score on the basis of predetermined criteria. Compared with placebo, azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine therapy had an odds ratio of response of 3.09 (95% CI, 2.45 to 3.91) in patients with active Crohn disease. When the single trial that used 6-mercaptopurine in active disease was excluded from the analysis, the odds ratio of response was 1.45 (CI, 1.12 to 1.87). No trials of quiescent disease used 6-mercaptopurine; the odds ratio of response in these trials of quiescent disease was 2.27 (CI, 1.76 to 2.93). For active disease, continuation of therapy for at least 17 weeks improved response (P = 0.03). For quiescent disease, a higher dose improved response (P = 0.008). Increased cumulative dose improved response in both groups (P < 0.001 for active disease and P = 0.01 for quiescent disease). A steroid-sparing effect was seen in active disease (odds ratio, 3.69 (CI, 2.12 to 6.42) and in quiescent disease (odds ratio, 4.64 [CI, 1.00 to 21.54]). Fistulae improved with therapy (odds ratio, 4.44 [CI, 1.50 to 13.20]). Adverse events requiring withdrawal from a trial, primarily allergy, leukopenia, pancreatitis, and nausea, were increased with therapy (odds ratio, 5.26 [CI, 2.20 to 12.60]). Azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine are effective in treating active Crohn disease and in maintaining remission. Cumulative dose was an important factor in predicting response. Adverse effects were more common among patients receiving therapy.Annals of internal medicine 08/1995; 123(2):132-42. · 13.98 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mercaptopurine (6MP) has been the standard drug for maintenance therapy of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In a multicenter study we investigated whether thioguanine (6TG), which is converted more directly to the cytotoxic thioguanine nucleotides (TGN), offers a therapeutic advantage over 6MP. In this study (COALL-92), 6TG was randomized versus 6MP in maintenance therapy, whereby the doses of both drugs had to be adjusted to a white blood cell (WBC) count of between 2 and 3/nl. In 19 children the plasma levels of both drugs and/or the accumulation of their metabolites in red blood cells (RBC) were measured during intensive treatment in two consecutive chemotherapy blocks, and in 54 children the metabolites in RBC were measured every 3 months during daily treatment in maintenance therapy. There was a marked interindividual difference in the plasma kinetics of the two drugs; after identical doses of 100 mg/m2 an about 4-fold higher peak concentration of the parent drug was reached with 6MP. The main metabolites of 6TG were thioguanine nucleotides (TGN), whereas during 6MP treatment, methylated thioinosine nucleotides (TIN) predominated in erythrocytes. In patients receiving 6TG during maintenance therapy (22 patients) the concentration of methylated TGN reached about 40% of that of unmethylated TGN; after 6MP administration (32 patients) the methylated TIN were concentrated about 26-fold higher in RBC than were TGN. In contrast to 6TG, for 6MP the pattern of metabolites shifted toward the methylated ones with increasing dose. The median TGN concentration was about 7-fold higher in the TG branch, although the median dose was only about 70% of that of 6MP. The WBC values were equivalent in the two treatment groups. Our results suggest that the cytotoxic effect of 6MP is not based solely on the formation of TGN.Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology 07/1998; 42(4):266-272. · 2.80 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The immunosuppressive properties of 6-mercaptopurine and its parent compound azathioprine are mediated by their intracellular metabolism into active 6-thioguanine (6-TG) metabolites. Measurement of erythrocyte 6-TG metabolite levels has been proposed as a useful clinical tool for assessing treatment efficacy in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The purpose of the study was to establish a therapeutic index of treatment efficacy based on measurement of erythrocyte 6-TG metabolite levels, and apply it clinically to guide therapy. Heparinised blood was obtained from 82 adult patients with IBD on long term (more than three months) antimetabolite therapy (63 Crohn's disease; 19 ulcerative colitis). Erythrocyte 6-TG metabolite levels were measured using reverse phase high performance chromatography, and correlated with treatment efficacy. In 22 patients with refractory Crohn's disease despite long term azathioprine therapy, their dosage was increased by 25 mg/day at eight week intervals as needed. Serial erythrocyte 6-TG metabolite levels were measured at each clinic visit and correlated with treatment efficacy. Clinical remission, as defined by a low disease index score in patients weaned off or on a low alternate day dose (<20 mg on alternate days) of corticosteroid, was achieved in 68% of patients on long term antimetabolite therapy. Treatment efficacy correlated with erythrocyte 6-TG levels greater than 250 pmol/8x10(8) red blood cells in patients with colonic and fistulising Crohn's disease (p<0.01) but not in patients with ileocolonic disease. Eighteen of 22 patients with incompletely responsive Crohn's disease achieved disease remission by optimising their dose of azathioprine therapy. Median (range) erythrocyte 6-TG metabolite levels increased from 194 (67-688) to 303 (67-737) pmol/8x10(8) red blood cells (p<0.05). Clinical response associated well with a reduction in corticosteroid requirements. Mean (SEM) white blood cell count decreased from 8.6 (0.9) to 6.9 (0.6) x10(3)/microl with adjustment in azathioprine dosage. No patient incurred azathioprine induced leucopenia. Measurement of erythrocyte 6-TG metabolite levels is helpful in determining the adequacy of azathioprine dosage and can be used to optimise the dose of antimetabolite therapy to achieve an improved clinical response without inducing leucopenia. Patients who are clinically refractory to azathioprine therapy despite achieving high erythrocyte 6-TG levels (>250) should be considered for adjunct or alternative forms of immunosuppressive therapy or surgery.Gut 05/2001; 48(5):642-6. · 10.73 Impact Factor