Outcomes and Strategies to Support a Treat-to-target Approach in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Systematic Review

Jean Frédéric Colombel, Geert D'Haens, Wan Ju Lee, Joel Petersson, Remo Panaccione

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

176 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: Management of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis has typically relied upon treatment intensification driven by symptoms alone. However, a 'treat-to-target' management approach may help to address underlying inflammation, minimise disease activity at early stages of inflammatory bowel disease, limit progression, and improve long-term outcomes. Methods: A systematic literature review was conducted to identify data relevant to a treat-to-target approach in inflammatory bowel disease, published between January 1, 2007 and May 15, 2017. Results: Consistent with recommendations of the Selecting Therapeutic Targets in Inflammatory Bowel Disease [STRIDE] working group, studies have investigated factors influencing the achievement of both endoscopic and histological mucosal healing and patient-level outcomes in inflammatory bowel disease [IBD]. Histological healing and biomarker levels have also been shown to be modifiable outcomes. Although there is a lack of prospectively derived evidence validating mucosal healing as a treatment target, data are emerging to suggest that targeting mucosal healing or inflammation rather than symptoms may be cost-effective in some settings. The review highlighted several strategies that may support the implementation of a treat-to-target approach in IBD. The prospective randomised CALM study demonstrated how tight control [whereby treatment decisions are based on close monitoring of inflammatory biomarkers] leads to improvements in endoscopic and clinical outcomes. The review also considered the influence of coordinated care from a multidisciplinary team and patient engagement with improved adherence, as well as the role of therapeutic drug monitoring in inflammatory bowel disease management. Conclusions: A treat-to-target strategy may impact on disease progression and improve outcomes in inflammatory bowel disease. Prospective studies including long-term data are required to ensure that the most appropriate targets and strategies are identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-266
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Crohn's and Colitis
Issue number2
StatePublished - 10 Feb 2020


  • Endoscopy
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • outcomes


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