LEUKOCYTAPHERESIS IN THE MANAGEMENT OF SEVERE STEROID-DEPENDENT ULCERATIVE COLITIS
Keywords:Leukapheresis; Colitis, ulcerative; Colorectal neoplasms; Croatia; Case reports
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a multifactorial disease of unknown precise etiology and immunopathogenesis. Peripheral blood granulocytes and monocytes/macrophages are the major sources of cytokines, which regulate inflammation. Leukocytapheresis (LCAP) is a method where blood is processed by apheresis system that removes lymphocytes and plasma before being returned to the body. We report the first case in Croatia where we used LCAP in the treatment of a patient with severe steroid-dependent UC. After 12 LCAP procedures, good clinical response was obtained and there were no significant adverse side effects noticed. The patient remained in clinical remission over two years in which he underwent regular follow ups at outpatient clinic. Over a 10-year follow-up period after LCAP, the patient had only occasional clinical symptoms of disease activity. The clinical course was complicated with the development of metastatic colorectal carcinoma, which points to the importance of regular disease monitoring rather than the increased risk of malignant disease after LCAP. Patients with UC are a demanding group of patients that warrant the search for novel treatment
strategies other than conventional pharmacological therapies. Although LCAP is still not a common treatment modality in our daily practice, data from recent studies suggest it to be an effective and safe procedure in the management of active UC patients.