Magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] is a promising tool to evaluate therapeutic efficacy in ileocolonic Crohn’s disease [CD].
We aimed to assess the feasibility of early MRI evaluation (week 12 [W12]) to predict corticosteroid-free remission [CFREM] at W52 and prevent long-term bowel damage.
All patients with active CD needing anti-tumour necrosis factor [anti-TNF] therapy were consecutively enrolled in this multicentre prospective study. MRI was performed before starting therapy, at W12 and W52. CFREM was defined as Crohn’s Disease Activity Index < 150, C-reactive protein < 5 mg/L and faecal calprotectin < 250 µg/g, with no switch of anti-TNF agents, no bowel resection and no therapeutic intensification between W12 and W52.
Among 46 patients, 22 [47.8%] achieved CFREM at W52. Anti-TNF agents were able to heal almost all CD lesions as soon as W12 [p < 0.05]. Early transmural response defined as a 25% decrease of either Clermont score (odds ratio [OR] = 7.7 [1.7-34.0], p  +10% or ΔRCE [relative contrast enhancement] > -30% was associated with a likelihood of CFREM at W52 of 84.6% vs 37.5% in patients without transmural response [p < 0.001]. Early transmural response could prevent bowel damage progression over time using Clermont score (hazard ratio = 0.21 [0.0-0.9]; p = 0.037).
Evaluation of early transmural response by MRI is feasible and is a promising end point to monitor therapeutic efficacy in patients with CD.

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