Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2023 Apr 25;4(4):CD013871. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD013871.pub2.
BACKGROUND: Clostridioides difficile (formerly known as Clostridium difficile) is a bacterium that can cause potentially life-threatening diarrheal illness in individuals with an unhealthy mixture of gut bacteria, known as dysbiosis, and can cause recurrent infections in nearly a third of infected individuals. The traditional treatment of recurrent C difficile infection (rCDI) includes antibiotics, which may further exacerbate dysbiosis. There is growing interest in correcting the underlying dysbiosis in rCDI using of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT); and there is a need to establish the benefits and harms of FMT for the treatment of rCDI based on data from randomized controlled trials.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the benefits and harms of donor-based fecal microbiota transplantation for the treatment of recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection in immunocompetent people.
SEARCH METHODS: We used standard, extensive Cochrane search methods. The latest search date was 31 March 2022.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We considered randomized trials of adults or children with rCDI for inclusion. Eligible interventions must have met the definition of FMT, which is the administration of fecal material containing distal gut microbiota from a healthy donor to the gastrointestinal tract of a person with rCDI. The comparison group included participants who did not receive FMT and were given placebo, autologous FMT, no intervention, or antibiotics with activity against C difficile.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We used standard Cochrane methods. Our primary outcomes were 1. proportion of participants with resolution of rCDI and 2. serious adverse events. Our secondary outcomes were 3. treatment failure, 4. all-cause mortality, 5. withdrawal from study, 6. rate of new CDI infection after a successful FMT, 7. any adverse event, 8. quality of life, and 9. colectomy. We used the GRADE criteria to assess certainty of evidence for each outcome.
MAIN RESULTS: We included six studies with 320 participants. Two studies were conducted in Denmark, and one each in the Netherlands, Canada, Italy, and the US. Four were single-center and two were multicenter studies. All studies included only adults. Five studies excluded people who were severely immunocompromised, with only one study including 10 participants who were receiving immunosuppressive therapy out of the 64 enrolled; these were similarly distributed between the FMT arm (4/24 or 17%) and comparison arms (6/40 or 15%). The route of administration was the upper gastrointestinal tract via a nasoduodenal tube in one study, two studies used enema only, two used colonoscopic only delivery, and one used either nasojejunal or colonoscopic delivery, depending on a clinical determination of whether the recipient could tolerate a colonoscopy. Five studies had at least one comparison group that received vancomycin. The risk of bias (RoB 2) assessments did not find an overall high risk of bias for any outcome. All six studies assessed the efficacy and safety of FMT for the treatment of rCDI. Pooled results from six studies showed that the use of FMT in immunocompetent participants with rCDI likely leads to a large increase in resolution of rCDI in the FMT group compared to control (risk ratio (RR) 1.92, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.36 to 2.71; P = 0.02, I2 = 63%; 6 studies, 320 participants; number needed to treat for an additional beneficial outcome (NNTB) 3; moderate-certainty evidence). Fecal microbiota transplantation probably results in a slight reduction in serious adverse events; however, the CIs around the summary estimate were wide (RR 0.73, 95% CI 0.38 to 1.41; P = 0.24, I² = 26%; 6 studies, 320 participants; NNTB 12; moderate-certainty evidence). Fecal microbiota transplantation may result in a reduction in all-cause mortality; however, the number of events was small, and the CIs of the summary estimate were wide (RR 0.57, 95% CI 0.22 to 1.45; P = 0.48, I2 = 0%; 6 studies, 320 participants; NNTB 20; low-certainty evidence). None of the included studies reported colectomy rates.
AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: In immunocompetent adults with rCDI, FMT likely leads to a large increase in the resolution of recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection compared to alternative treatments such as antibiotics. There was no conclusive evidence regarding the safety of FMT for the treatment of rCDI as the number of events was small for serious adverse events and all-cause mortality. Additional data from large national registry databases might be required to assess any short-term or long-term risks with using FMT for the treatment of rCDI. Elimination of the single study that included some immunocompromised people did not alter these conclusions. Due to the low number of immunocompromised participants enrolled, conclusions cannot be drawn about the risks or benefits of FMT for rCDI in the immunocompromised population.
PMID:37096495 | PMC:PMC10125800 | DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD013871.pub2