Precision medicine and drug optimization in adult inflammatory bowel disease patients

Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2023 May10;16:17562848231173331.doi:10.1177/17562848231173331. eCollection 2023.


Sophie Vieujean 1Edouard Louis 2


Author information

1Hepato-Gastroenterology and Digestive Oncology, University Hospital CHU of Liège, Liège, Belgium.

2Hepato-Gastroenterology and Digestive Oncology, University Hospital CHU of Liège, Avenue de l'Hôpital 1, 4000 Liège, Belgium.


Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) encompass two main entities including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Although having a common global pathophysiological mechanism, IBD patients are characterized by a significant interindividual heterogeneity and may differ by their disease type, disease locations, disease behaviours, disease manifestations, disease course as well as treatment needs. Indeed, although the therapeutic armamentarium for these diseases has expanded rapidly in recent years, a proportion of patients remains with a suboptimal response to medical treatment due to primary non-response, secondary loss of response or intolerance to currently available drugs. Identifying, prior to treatment initiation, which patients are likely to respond to a specific drug would improve the disease management, avoid unnecessary side effects and reduce the healthcare expenses. Precision medicine classifies individuals into subpopulations according to clinical and molecular characteristics with the objective to tailor preventative and therapeutic interventions to the characteristics of each patient. Interventions would thus be performed only on those who will benefit, sparing side effects and expense for those who will not. This review aims to summarize clinical factors, biomarkers (genetic, transcriptomic, proteomic, metabolic, radiomic or from the microbiota) and tools that could predict disease progression to guide towards a step-up or top-down strategy. Predictive factors of response or non-response to treatment will then be reviewed, followed by a discussion about the optimal dose of drug required for patients. The time at which these treatments should be administered (or rather can be stopped in case of a deep remission or in the aftermath of a surgery) will also be addressed. IBD remain biologically complex, with multifactorial etiopathology, clinical heterogeneity as well as temporal and therapeutic variabilities, which makes precision medicine especially challenging in this area. Although applied for many years in oncology, it remains an unmet medical need in IBD.



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