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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: A "treat-to-target" approach has been proposed for ulcerative colitis (UC), with a target of combined clinical and endoscopic remission. The aim of the study was to evaluate the extent to which proposed targets are achieved in real-world care, along with clinician perceptions and potential challenges. METHODS: A multicentre, retrospective, cross-sectional review of patients with UC attending outpatient services in South Australia was conducted. Clinical and objective assessment of disease activity (endoscopy, histology, and/or biomarkers) was recorded. A survey evaluated gastroenterologists' perceptions of treat to target in UC. Statistical analysis included logistic regression and Fisher's exact tests. RESULTS: Of 246 patients with UC, 61% were in clinical remission (normal bowel habit and no rectal bleeding), 35% in clinical and endoscopic remission (Mayo endoscopic sub-score ≤ 1), and 16% in concordant clinical, endoscopic, and histological (Truelove and Richards' Index) remission. Rather than disease-related factors (extent/activity), clinician-related factors dominated outcome. Hospital location and the choice of therapy predicted combined clinical and endoscopic remission (OR 3.6, 95% CI 1.6-8.7, P < 0.001; OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.1-12.5, P = 0.04, respectively). Clinicians used C-reactive protein more often than endoscopy as a biomarker for disease activity (75% vs 47%, P < 0.001). In the survey, 45/61 gastroenterologists responded, with significant disparity between clinician estimates of targets achieved in practice and real-world data (P < 0.001 for clinical and endoscopic remission). CONCLUSIONS: Most patients with UC do not achieve composite clinical and endoscopic remission in "real-world" practice. Clinician uptake of proposed treat-to-target guidelines is a challenge to their implementation.

Original publication




Journal article


J Gastroenterol Hepatol

Publication Date





599 - 607


inflammatory bowel disease, mucosal healing, treat to target, ulcerative colitis, Adult, Biomarkers, C-Reactive Protein, Colitis, Ulcerative, Cross-Sectional Studies, Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal, Female, Humans, Logistic Models, Male, Middle Aged, Multicenter Studies as Topic, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Remission Induction, Retrospective Studies