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Behçet's disease (BD) is a rare vasculitic disorder affecting all sizes of vessels. Among BD patients, 4 to 25% of patients with diagnosed age younger than 16 years old are defined as juvenile BD (JBD). This study aimed to evaluate the clinical manifestations and treatments of patients with JBD, with a particular focus on the effectiveness and safety of anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha therapy. We retrospectively reviewed data of all patients diagnosed with JBD at age of 16 years or younger in a tertiary hospital in Taiwan. The clinical manifestations, laboratory data, treatments, disease courses, and clinical outcomes were evaluated. The effectiveness of anti-TNF-alpha therapy was measured based on changes in Behçet's Disease Current Activity Form (BDCAF) scores, prednisolone dosages and the immunosuppression load scores. Fifty-five patients were included in the study. The median age at disease onset was 11 years. The most common clinical presentation was recurrent oral aphthous ulcers (100%), followed by genital ulceration (69.1%), skin lesions (36.4%), gastrointestinal symptoms (29.1%), ocular involvement (27.3%), and arthralgia (27.3%). Ninety-one percent of the patients fulfilled the International Criteria for Behçet's Disease, and 36.4% met the Paediatric Behçet's Disease criteria. The most frequently used medications were prednisolone (74.5%) and colchicine (54.5%). Six patients with refractory or severe JBD received anti-TNF-alpha therapy. These patients were diagnosed at a younger age compared with those who did not receive anti-TNF-alpha therapy (7.5 vs 13 years; P = 0.012), the BDCAF scores reduced significantly at the 1st month, the 6th month and 1 year after the treatment. They did not use steroids after the first year of treatment, and, after treatment for 6 months, their immunosuppression load scores reduced significantly. Due to the limited case numbers, literature reviews of anti-TNF-alpha therapy for refractory JBD were conducted, which had a total 18 JBD patients receiving anti-TNF-alpha therapy, of which fifteen patients had favorable outcomes after treatment with minimal side effects. Anti-TNF-alpha therapy may be necessary for JBD patients with refractory disease courses. Anti-TNF-alpha therapy was effective and safe in these patients, especially regarding its corticosteroid- and immunosuppressive drug-sparing effects.


Ya-Chiao Hu, Yao-Hsu Yang, Yu-Tsan Lin, Li-Chieh Wang, Hsin-Hui Yu, Jyh-Hong Lee, Bor-Luen Chiang. Clinical manifestations and anti-TNF alpha therapy of juvenile Behçet's disease in Taiwan. BMC pediatrics. 2019 Jul 11;19(1):232

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PMID: 31296171

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