Effects of tissue cytomegalovirus quantitative polymerase chain reaction in the management of ulcerative colitis flare-ups: Should we wave aside?

Kochan K., Keskin E., Seven G., Bas S., Kiremitci S., Gecer M., ...More

Arab journal of gastroenterology : the official publication of the Pan-Arab Association of Gastroenterology, vol.22, pp.297-304, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Background and Study Aims: The role of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection for disease reactivation in ulcerative colitis (UC) patients remains controversial and diagnostic tests are yet to be standardized. We aimed to define the clinical relevance of CMV detection by mucosal polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in UC patients by comparing the clinical course of UC in CMV-treated and CMV-untreated groups in tissue CMV-PCR positive cases. Patients and Methods: In this retrospective study, 141 patients diagnosed with moderate-to-severe UC admitted to our clinic with disease flare, colonic tissue CMV PCR was assessed. Results: The median age of the study population was 39 years, and 99 (70.2%) patients were male. Eightyeight (62.4%) patients were CMV-PCR (+) and 53 (37.6%) were CMV PCR (-). The CMV-PCR (+) and CMV PCR (-) groups showed no significant difference concerning age, sex, disease duration, site of involvement and disease activity and administered treatments. The median tissue CMV-PCR was 41,098 IU/mL (IQR:2,344.25-136,192). Thirty-four of 88 CMV-PCR (+) patients received antiviral therapy. The tissue CMV-PCR level of patients who received antiviral therapy was 124,381 IU/mL (IQR: 19,309-412,335), and it was 6,292 IU/mL (IQR: 997-71,154) in patients who did not receive antiviral therapy; (p < 0.001). Sixteen (47.1%) of 34 patients who received antiviral therapy achieved remission. Two of the non-responders underwent colectomy (one because of dysplasia and one who did not respond subsequent biologic agent either). Remaing 16 achieved remission by escalating the immunsuppresive/biologic agent therapy. Conclusion: CMV infection is responsible for only a minority of cases of UC flares and all are steroidresistant cases. Most of the patients non-responsive to antiviral treatment respond to increased antiinflammatory treatment. Hesitancy in the decision of escalating immunsuppresive treatment rather than CMV disease may be responsible for worsening disease course and increased colectomy rate in a significant number of the patients who are tissue CMV-PCR (+). (c) 2021 Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of Pan-Arab Association of Gastroenterology.