BACKGROUND Data on the efficacy of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 antisense oligonucleotide alicaforsen in ulcerative colitis (UC) is inconsistent. METHODS All patients, who had received at least one dose of alicaforsen, were analyzed retrospectively. Alicaforsen's efficacy was assessed in patients treated for left-sided UC and proctitis by comparing clinical and (if applicable) endoscopic disease activity before/after treatment. RESULTS Twelve patients were treated for left-sided UC or proctitis. Eleven patients received a 6-week course of a once-daily 240 mg alicaforsen enema formulation. In 1 patient, treatment was discontinued, because it was found to be inefficient. Disease activity measured by the partial Mayo score and 6-point symptom score was significantly reduced after treatment (6.0 vs. 2.4, p = 0.011 and 3.7 vs. 1.4, p = 0.008). Faecal calprotectin showed a trend towards reduction (484.4 vs. 179.5 μg/g, p = 0.063). Clinical improvement was achieved in 10 patients (83.3%). In 7 patients, a relapse occurred (70%). Median duration of clinical improvement was 18.0 weeks (range 1-112). Three patients showed an ongoing improvement of >9 months. No adverse events were reported. CONCLUSIONS A 6-week course of alicaforsen seemed to be safe and efficacious in inducing clinical improvement in patients with left-sided UC and proctitis. Prolonged clinical improvement was observed in many but not all patients.