Trends in inflammatory bowel disease treatment in the past two decades-a high-level text mining analysis of PubMed publications

Eyal Klang*, Yiftach Barash, Shelly Soffer, Eyal Shachar, Adi Lahat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Many therapeutic options for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) emerged during the last 2 decades, along with the rise in disease prevalence and incidence. We aimed at assessing the published literature on different treatment options in that period. Special attention was attributed to specific medication mechanisms and geographic diversity. Materials and Methods: We have queried PubMed for all available IBD-related entries published during 2000–2020. The following data were extracted for each entry: PubMed unique article ID (PMID), title, publishing journal, abstract text, keywords (if any), and authors' affiliations. Two gastrointestinal specialists decided in consensus on a list of terms to classify entries. The terms belonged to five treatment groups: medical, surgical, dietary, microbiome manipulation, and complementary medicine. The medical and complementary medicine groups were further sub-classified. Annual trends of publications for the years 2000–2020 were plotted for different treatment types. The slopes of publication trends were calculated by fitting regression lines to the annual number of publications. Results: Overall, 77,505 IBD entries were published between 2000 and 2020. Medical treatment showed the highest number of total publications 21,540/77,505 (27.8%), followed by surgical 7605/77,505 (9.8%), microbiome research 5260/77,505 (6.8%), dietary 4819/77,505 (6.2%), and complementary medicine treatment 762/77,505 (1.0%). Interestingly, since 2012 there is a steep rise in microbiome publications that outnumbered surgery in the last 2 years. Trend analysis of medical treatment showed that biologics had the steepest slope (57.5, p < 0.001), followed by immunomodulators (4.9, p < 0.001), small molecules (3.9, p < 0.001), and 5-ASA (3.8, p < 0.001). Conclusion: According to our high-level publications trend analysis, the past 2 decades certainly deserve the reference as the “biologic era”, as publications regarding biological therapy outnumbered all other treatment options. Interestingly, though very popular among patients, complementary medicine was not studied with correlation to its' acceptance among patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1019-1026
Number of pages8
JournalUnited European Gastroenterology Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Crohn disease
  • complementary therapies
  • drug therapy
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • microbiome
  • nutrition
  • surgery
  • ulcerative colitis


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