Background and Aims: Histological remission (HR) has been recently demonstrated as the last therapeutic goal in ulcerative colitis (UC), but it is unknown whether and how it may occur. Our aim was to assess the histology during the follow-up of an UC population in deep remission under treatment with adalimumab (ADA).

Methods: We performed a retrospective study on 22 UC patients who were in deep remission and followed-up while receiving therapy with ADA. Colonoscopy in those patients was performed every year. Four-quadrant biopsies every 10 cm were obtained during each colonoscopy and assessed by hematoxylin and eosin stain. Histological activity was classified using the Geboes scale.

Results: A total of 22 patients were enrolled in the study. The mean follow-up of those patients was 28±7 months, and 2,592 biopsy specimens in total were taken during 108 colonoscopies performed during the follow-up. At the beginning of the follow-up, histological inflammation was found in 15/22 (68.2%) of patients in deep remissio while receiving maintenance ADA therapy, 8/22 (36.4%) of them with Geboes score ≥3.1. At the end of the follow-up, when patients were still in deep remission while receiving maintenance ADA therapy, only 4 patients (18.2%) had at least one biopsy specimen with evidence of any histological inflammation during the follow-up; only two patients (9.1%) had Geboes score ≥3.1.

Conclusions: Our study shows for the first time that UC patients in deep remission under ADA may reach HR, but it seems slower than other clinical or endoscopic goals.


deep remission, histological remission, adalimumab, ulcerative colitis