Effects of antiviral therapy for patients with inflammatory bowel disease and a positive intestinal biopsy forcytomegalovirus

Andrea Jones, Jeffrey D. McCurdy, Edward V. Loftus, David H. Bruining, Felicity T. Enders, Jill M. Killian, Thomas C. Smyrk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is an opportunistic pathogen; documented tissue involvement of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is associated with adverse outcomes. We quantified the density of CMV inclusions in biopsy specimens from patients with IBD and assessed their response to antiviral therapy. Methods: In a case-control study, we identified all small bowel and colon biopsy specimens collected from 1111 patients with IBD that had been submitted to the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, to evaluate for CMV in intestinal tissue from 2005 through 2011. All positive cases were reviewed to confirm the diagnosis of CMV in tissue. We determined the number of viral inclusions in each processed biopsy sample. Biopsy specimens with 5 or more inclusions were considered to have high-grade CMV density. We collected data on response to antiviral therapy and history of surgical resection within 1 year after diagnosis of CMV in tissue. CMV-negative samples (controls) were selected from the same IBD population. Primary outcomes included clinical improvement, hospital admission, time to admission, need for surgical procedures, time to surgery, escalation of therapy, and relapse of CMV infection. Results: In our analysis of the biopsy samples, 68 (6%) were found to contain CMV. Follow-up data and treatment outcomes were available from 50 cases, including 16 patients with high-grade CMV density (all treated) and 34 with low-grade CMV density (20 treated). There was no overall difference in survival, free of surgery, between patients with or without CMV 1 year after diagnosis in tissue. Antiviral treatment improved surgery-free survival outcomes of patients with CMV infection-particularly of patients with high-grade CMV density. Conclusions: Patients with IBD and a high density of CMV inclusions in intestinal biopsy specimens benefit from antiviral therapy. Patients with fewer viral inclusions in biopsy specimens also might benefit, but the severity of the IBD should be the prime consideration in determining treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)949-955
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Crohn's disease
  • Management
  • Symptoms
  • Ulcerative colitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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