Systematic review with network meta-analysis: first- and second-line pharmacotherapy for moderate-severe ulcerative colitis

S. Singh, M. Fumery, W. J. Sandborn, M. H. Murad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Background: There are limited data to inform positioning of agents for treating moderate-severe ulcerative colitis (UC). Aim: To assess comparative efficacy and safety of different therapies as first-line (biologic-naïve) and second-line (prior exposure to anti-tumour necrosis factor(TNF)-α) agents for moderate-severe UC, through a systematic review and network meta-analysis, and appraise quality of evidence (QoE) using grading of recommendations, assessment, development and evaluation (GRADE) approach. Methods: We identified randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in adults with moderate-severe UC treated with anti-TNF agents, anti-integrin agents and janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, as first-line or second-line agents, and compared with placebo or another active agent. Efficacy outcomes were induction/maintenance of remission and mucosal healing; and safety outcomes were serious adverse events and infections. Network meta-analyses were performed, and ranking was assessed using surface under the cumulative ranking (SUCRA) probabilities. Results: In biologic-naïve patients (12 trials, no head-to-head comparisons), infliximab and vedolizumab were ranked highest for induction of clinical remission (infliximab: odds ratio [OR], 4.10 [95% confidence intervals [CI], 2.58-6.52]; SUCRA,0.85; vedolizumab:SUCRA,0.82) and mucosal healing (infliximab:SUCRA,0.91; vedolizumab:SUCRA,0.81) (moderate QoE). In patients with prior anti-TNF exposure (4 trials, no head-to-head comparisons), tofacitinib was ranked highest for induction of clinical remission (OR, 11.88 [2.32-60.89]; SUCRA, 0.96) and mucosal healing (moderate QoE). Differences in trial design limited comparability of trials of maintenance therapy for efficacy. Vedolizumab was ranked safest in terms of serious adverse events (SUCRA, 0.91), and infection (SUCRA, 0.75) in maintenance trials. Conclusions: Infliximab and vedolizumab are ranked highest as first-line agents, and tofacitinib is ranked highest as second-line agent, for induction of remission and mucosal healing in patients with moderate-severe UC, based on indirect comparisons. Head-to-head trials are warranted to inform clinical decision-making with greater confidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-175
Number of pages14
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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