Conference Coverage

Eosinophilic esophagitis: A year in review


It has been a prolific year in eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) research, particularly of high-impact clinical trials that will undoubtedly alter the current management paradigm. At the AGA postgraduate course in May, we highlighted recent noteworthy randomized controlled trials (RCT) using eosinophil-targeting biologic therapy, esophageal-optimized corticosteroid preparations, and dietary elimination in EoE.

Dupilumab, a monoclonal antibody that blocks interleukin-4 and IL-13 signaling, was tested in a phase 3 trial for adults and adolescents with EoE.1 In this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, the efficacy of subcutaneous dupilumab 300 mg weekly or every other week was compared against placebo. Stringent histologic remission (≤ 6 eosinophils/high power field) occurred in approximately 60% who received dupilumab (either dose) versus 5% in placebo. However, significant symptom improvement was seen only with 300 g weekly dupilumab.

Dr. Joan Chen is with the division of gastroenterology and hepatology, department of internal medicine at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor courtesy University of Michigan

Dr. Joan Chen

On the topical corticosteroid front, the results of two RCTs using fluticasone orally disintegrating tablet (APT-1011) and budesonide oral suspension (BOS) were published. In the APT-1011 phase 2b trial, patients were randomized to receive 1.5 mg or 3 mg daily or b.i.d. versus placebo for 12 weeks.2 High histologic response rates and improvement in dysphagia frequency were seen with all ≥ 3-mg daily-dose APT-1011, compared with placebo. However, adverse events (that is, candidiasis) were highest among those on 3 mg b.i.d. Thus, 3 mg daily APT-1011 was thought to offer the most favorable risk-benefit profile. In the BOS phase 3 trial, patients were randomized 2:1 to received BOS 2 mg b.i.d. or placebo for 12 weeks.3 BOS was superior to placebo in histologic, symptomatic, and endoscopic outcomes.

Diet remains the only therapy targeting the cause of EoE and offers a potential drug-free remission. In the randomized, open label trial of 1- versus 6-food elimination diet, adult patients were allocated 1:1 to 1FED (animal milk) or 6FED (animal milk, wheat, egg, soy, fish/shellfish, and peanuts/tree nuts) for 6 weeks.4 No significant difference in partial or stringent remission was found between the two groups. Step-up therapy resulted in an additional 43% histologic response in those who underwent 6FED after failing 1FED and 82% histologic response in those who received swallowed fluticasone 880 mcg b.i.d after failing 6FED. Hence, eliminating animal milk alone in a step-up treatment approach is reasonable.

We have witnessed major progress to expand EoE treatment options in the last year. Long-term efficacy and side-effect data, as well as studies comparing between therapies are needed to improve shared decision-making and strategies to implement tailored care in EoE.

Dr. Chen is with the division of gastroenterology and hepatology, department of internal medicine at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She disclosed consultancy work with Phathom Pharmaceuticals.


1. Dellon ES et al. N Engl J Med. 2022;387(25):2317-30.

2. Dellon ES et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2022;20(11):2485-94e15.

3. Hirano I et al. Budesonide. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2022;20(3):525-34e10.

4. Kliewer KL et al. Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2023;8(5):408-21.

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