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Immunogenicity to infliximab is associated with HLA-DRB1
  1. Thomas Billiet1,
  2. Niels Vande Casteele2,
  3. Thomas Van Stappen2,
  4. Fred Princen3,
  5. Sharat Singh3,
  6. Ann Gils2,
  7. Marc Ferrante4,
  8. Gert Van Assche4,
  9. Isabelle Cleynen4,
  10. Severine Vermeire4
  1. 1Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Translational Research Center for GastroIntestinal Disorders (TARGID), KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  2. 2Laboratory for Therapeutic and Diagnostic Antibodies, Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  3. 3Department of Research and Development, Prometheus Laboratories, San Diego, California, USA
  4. 4Department of Gastroenterology, UZ Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Dr Severine Vermeire, Gastroenterology Department, University Hospitals Leuven, Herestraat 49, Leuven B-3000, Belgium; severine.vermeire{at}

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Dear Editor,

We read with great interest the manuscript by Ungar and colleagues describing the temporal evolution of antibodies to infliximab (ATI) in patients with IBD treated with infliximab (IFX).1 By prospectively following 125 patients with IBD, they showed that ATI formation is a dynamic process. Clinically relevant ATI were typically formed within the first 12 months but transient ATI, which are of little clinical significance, can be formed at any time during treatment. They furthermore demonstrated that the evolution of ATI correlates with clinical loss of response and that concomitant immunomodulator use prolonged ATI-free survival, which is in line with previous reports. Nevertheless, patient-related factors possibly influencing ATI formation weren't considered and haven't been studied extensively. We hypothesised that ATI formation may be triggered by HLA-DRB1 alleles, as was shown for immunogenicity to interferon-β therapy in multiple sclerosis.2 We retrospectively analysed 192 patients with IBD: 76 patients developed ATI during IFX maintenance treatment (=ATI+) (44 Crohn's disease (CD), 32 UC) and these were matched with 116 patients (64 CD, 52 UC) who never developed ATI (=ATI−). All patients were antitumour necrosis factor naïve before IFX …

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