Background: Regulatory requirements for claims of mucosal healing in ulcerative colitis (UC) will require demonstration of both endoscopic and histologic healing. Quantifying these rates is essential for future drug development. Aims: To meta-analyse endoscopic and histologic placebo response and remission rates in UC randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and identify factors influencing these rates. Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library were searched from inception to March 2017 for placebo-controlled trials of pharmacological interventions for UC. Endoscopic and histologic placebo rates were pooled by random effects. Mixed effects univariable and multivariable meta-regression was used to evaluate the influence of patient, intervention and trial-related study-level covariates on these rates. Results: Fifty-six induction (placebo n = 4171) and 8 maintenance trials (placebo n = 1011) were included. Pooled placebo endoscopic remission and response rates for induction trials were 23% [95 confidence interval (CI) 19-28%] and 35% [95% CI 27-42%] respectively, and 20% [95% CI 16-24%] for maintenance of remission. The pooled histologic placebo remission rate was 14% [95% CI 8-22%] for induction trials. High heterogeneity was observed for all outcomes (I2 56.2%-88.3%). On multivariable meta-regression, central endoscopy reading was associated with significantly lower endoscopic placebo remission rates (16% vs 25%; OR = 0.52, [95% CI 0.29-0.92], P = 0.03). On univariable meta-regression, higher histologic placebo remission was associated with concomitant corticosteroids (OR = 1.17 [95% CI 1.08-1.26], P < 0.0001, per 10% increase in corticosteroid use). Conclusions: Placebo endoscopic and histologic rates range from 14% to 35% in UC RCTs but are highly heterogeneous. Outcome standardisation may reduce heterogeneity and is needed in this field.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)