AIM: To evaluate cladribine [2-chlorodeoxyadenosine (2-CdA)] therapy in refractory celiac disease (RCD) II.
METHODS: An open-label cohort-study of RCD II patients treated with 2-CdA was performed between 2000 and 2010. Survival rate, enteropathy associated T-cell lymphoma (EATL) occurrence, clinical course, and histological and immunological response rates were evaluated.
RESULTS: Overall, 32 patients were included with a median follow-up of 31 mo. Eighteen patients responded well to 2-CdA. Patients responsive to 2-CdA had a statistically significant increased survival compared to those who were unresponsive. The overall 3- and 5-year survival was 83% in the responder and 63% and 22% in the non-responder group, respectively. The overall 2-year clinical, histological and immunological response rates were 81%, 47% and 41%, respectively. Progression into EATL was reported in 16%, all of these patients died.
CONCLUSION: Treatment of RCD II with 2-CdA holds promise, showing excellent clinical and histological response rates, and probably less frequent transition into EATL.