Digestive and Liver Disease

Published by WB Saunders
Print ISSN: 1590-8658
Publications
Prospective evaluation of the new 0.025 in. Visiglide(®) guidewire to facilitate endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography using the Olympus V-scope. Interventional endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography was performed in 9 patients with the Olympus V-scope and the 0.025 in. Visiglide(®) guidewire (VS group), whilst 9 other patients underwent endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography with a conventional Olympus duodenoscope using 0.035 in. conventional guidewires (controls). Exchange time of accessories, X-ray time, dose and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography examination time were investigated. The VS group showed a significantly lower exchange time of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography accessories (9; 4-10s, p<0.0001) than controls (29; 19-44s). The Visiglide(®) guidewire was complete fixable by the elevator in 35/36 instrument exchanges (97%) compared to 16/31 exchanges (52%) using conventional guidewires. Single-centre study, small patient numbers, two investigators. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography using the Olympus V-scope with the new 0.025 in. Visiglide(®) guidewire enables a 3-fold faster exchange of accessories due to a nearly complete fixation of the guidewire.
 
Topically applied 0.2% glyceryl trinitrate ointment to the anal region, incision and excision were compared in the treatment of perianal thrombosis, in order to establish which method is the best in terms of pain relief, number of recurrences and the appearance of anal skin tags. A total of 150 patients were randomly divided into three groups of 50, each group being treated by one of the above-mentioned methods. The results of the treatment were evaluated during the first 4 days, after one month and after one year. A statistically significant reduction of pain was achieved by excision if compared with incision or conservative treatment with glyceryl trinitrate (p<0.001), and by conservative treatment with glyceryl trinitrate if compared with incision (p<0.01 on the 4th day of follow-up. Comparison of patients treated by the three different methods did not reveal any significant difference between these methods after one month (p>0.05). After one year the number of recurrences was significantly reduced after excision if compared with incision (p<0.05) or conservative treatment with glyceryl trinitrate (p<0.05). The number of patients without symptoms was significantly greater after excision if compared with incision or conservative treatment with glyceryl trinitrate (p<0.001). The number of patients with anal skin tags was significantly reduced in patients treated by excision if compared with incision (p<0.001) or glyceryl trinitrate treatment (p<0.001). Excision is a significantly better method of treatment of perianal thrombosis than incision or topically applied 0.2% glyceryl trinitrate ointment.
 
Atrophic gastritis (AG) is often considered an autoimmune disorder and is associated with other autoimmune diseases. HLA-DRB1 alleles are often associated with autoimmune diseases, however HLA-DRB1 genotyping data in AG patients are lacking. The objective of the study was to evaluate the prevalence of HLA-DRB1 in AG patients. The occurrence of HLA-DRB1 alleles was assessed in 89 Italian AG patients (69.1% female) and 313 controls (47.3% females). Genomic DNA was extracted from peripheral venous blood, PCR-coamplified for HLA-DRB1 and typed using a reverse line-blot assay. Compared to controls, prevalence of HLA-DRB1*03 (28.1% vs. 15.9%, p=0.01) and HLA-DRB1*04 (25.8% vs. 14.4%, p=0.01) was greater in AG patients, conferring an OR of 2.05 and 2.07, respectively. HLA-DRB1*01 occurred more frequently in controls than in AG patients (11.5% vs. 3.4%, p=0.01) conferring an OR of 0.27. AG patients carrying the HLA-DRB1*03 or *04 alleles were characterised by having more frequently autoimmune thyroid disease (70.4% vs. 42.2%, p=0.01) and intestinal metaplasia (86.4% vs. 62.2%, p=0.01). In our population, over 50% of AG patients carry the HLA-DRB1*03 or *04 alleles associated with autoimmune diseases, suggesting that this subset of AG patients has a genetic predisposition to autoimmunity.
 
BACKGROUND: Alpha 1,6-fucosyltransferase 8 expression was demonstrated to be enhanced during hepatocarcinogenesis. AIMS: Our study aimed to find out the clinical significance and biological function of alpha 1,6-fucosyltransferase 8 in hepatitis B virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma. METHODS: Alpha 1,6-fucosyltransferase 8 expression levels were determined in 52 pairs of tissues to compare its expression between tumour tissues [with/without portal vein tumour thrombus] and adjacent noncancerous liver tissues. Relationship between alpha 1,6-fucosyltransferase 8 expression and clinical indicators was also investigated. An alpha 1,6-fucosyltransferase 8-knockdown (by RNAi) cell line MHCC97-H/siFUT8 was established to reveal functional impact of alpha 1,6-fucosyltransferase 8 on cell growth, migration and invasion in hepatocellular carcinoma, respectively using Cell Counting Kit-8, wound healing migration assay, transwell assay and gelatin zymography. RESULTS: We observed a higher alpha 1,6-fucosyltransferase 8 expression level in tumour tissues than adjacent noncancerous liver tissues. In portal vein tumour thrombus group, alpha 1,6-fucosyltransferase 8 protein expressed more in portal vein tumour thrombus tissues than that in adjacent noncancerous liver tissues. The expression level in tumour tissues was highly correlated with tumour size and presence of satellite nodules (P<0.05). Furthermore, alpha 1,6-fucosyltransferase 8-knockdown suppressed the tumour proliferation, migration and invasion of MHCC97-H cells. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that alpha 1,6-fucosyltransferase 8 expression might be a good indicator of poor prognosis in hepatocellular carcinoma. High alpha 1,6-fucosyltransferase 8 expression may play an important role in hepatitis B virus-related hepatocellular carcinoma progression.
 
Ileal biopsies are often reported as having a low yield. Data from endoscopy practices in the private setting are lacking. To correlate the frequency of histologic abnormalities in ileal biopsies with clinical indications and ileoscopic appearances. Retrospective analysis of clinical, endoscopic, and histopathologic data from a large database. We studied 9785 unique adult patients (median age 46 years, 61.4% women) with ileal biopsies. The most common symptoms were diarrhoea (52.2%) and abdominal pain (37.1%). Ileoscopy was reported as being normal in 75.1% patients. Subjects screened for cancer had the highest prevalence of abnormal endoscopic findings (63.3%); patients with known or suspected Crohn's had the highest prevalence abnormal ileal histology (36.4%). Overall, 5.0% of ileal biopsies obtained from patients with normal endoscopy and 47.4% of biopsies from patients with an endoscopically abnormal ileum had significant histopathologic findings. In adults, biopsies from the endoscopically normal ileum rarely provide clinically relevant information and cannot be recommended. In contrast, half of the adult patients with an endoscopically abnormal ileum have significant histopathologic findings in ileal biopsies. Therefore, ileoscopy associated with a sensible use of the ileal biopsy is a valuable complement to the colonoscopy.
 
Till now, no Italian studies providing information on acute pancreatitis have been published. The aim of this study was to evaluate the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of acute pancreatitis in Italy. The study involved 37 Italian centres distributed homogeneously throughout the entire national territory and prospectively collected epidemiological, anamnestic, laboratory, radiological, therapeutic (pharmacological, endoscopic and surgical) data, relevant to each individual case of acute pancreatitis consecutively observed during the period from September 1996 to June 2000. One thousand two hundred and six case report forms were collected, but 201 patients (16.6%) were subsequently eliminated from the final analysis. We therefore studied 1005 patients, 533 (53%) males and 472 (47%) females, mean age 59.6 +/- 20 years. On the basis of the Atlanta classification of acute pancreatitis, 753 patients of the 1005 cases analysed (75%) were mild and 252 patients (25%) severe. The aetiology was biliary in 60% of the patients, related to alcohol abuse in 8.5%, while in 21% of the cases it could not be identified. Over 80% of the patients (83%) were admitted to hospital within 24 h from the onset of clinical symptoms, while only 6% were admitted after 48 h. In particular, 65% of the patients were admitted to hospital within the first 12 h. Antibiotics were used in 85% of the severe and 75% of mild forms. Endoscopic therapy was carried out in 65% of the severe cases, but only in 40% it was carried out prior to 72 h. Eighty-five patients (8.5% of the total, 34% of the severe forms) underwent surgical intervention: 20% on the first day, 38.5% within the fourth day, and the remaining (41.5% of the cases) later on for infected necrosis. The mean duration of hospitalisation for patients with mild pancreatitis was 13 +/- 8 days, while for the severe disease it was of 30 +/- 14 days. The overall mortality rate was 5%, 17% in severe and 1.5% in mild pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis in Italy is more commonly a mild disease with a biliary aetiology. The treatment of the disease is not optimal and, on the basis of these data, needs to be standardised. Despite this, the overall mortality rate is low (5%).
 
The diagnosis of familial Mediterranean fever still remains clinical, since no specific laboratory test exists, other than a molecular genetic test which is not widely available. To evaluate the clinical findings in 105 Turkish patients; to compare these findings with those in the literature; and to make a brief review of the disease. A total of 105 familial Mediterranean fever patients were evaluated either retrospectively (for those diagnosed before 1997), or prospectively (for those after 1997). A diagnostic criteria set was used in addition to the clinical and laboratory findings that can be seen in familial Mediterranean fever, including the newly described manifestations. Previously selected clinical and laboratory parameters were observed for three consecutive days. Of our patients, 88.5% were of Turkish, 3.8% of Armenian and 7. 6% of Jewish origin. Family history was positive in 87 (82.8%) patients. Involved site was peritoneum in 97 (92%), joints in 45 (42.8%) and pleura in 19 (18%). Frequency of myalgia/arthralgia was 24.7%, and skin findings were observed in 16. 1% of patients. Splenomegaly, not related to amyloidosis, was present in 21 (20%) patients. Meningeal, retinal or ovarian/testicular involvement was not observed. Identification of familial Mediterranean fever gene has led to the application of a molecular genetic test for the diagnosis of Familial Mediterranean Fever. Until genetic methods become widely available, diagnosis will remain clinical. Thus, awareness of various clinical forms and of the correct usage of diagnostic criteria in various patient populations is important.
 
In the Italian general population, prevalence of C282Y is lower than in Northern European countries. We hypothesised a higher prevalence of C282Y in Northern than in Central and Southern Italy. We previously identified a nonsense mutation (W169X) in haemochromatosis probands originating from a Northern Italian region (Brianza). To define the prevalence of HFE mutations in that region. Subjects and methods. A total of 1132 unrelated blood donors from the Blood Banks of Monza and Merate were investigated for C282Y, H63D, S65C and W169X mutations by PCR-restriction assays. A total of 300 were also tested for rare HFE and TFR2 mutations by reverse-hybridization test strips. Two C282Y homozygotes, eight C282Y/H63D compound heterozygotes, 27 H63D homozygotes and one W169X heterozygote were found. The allele frequencies of C282Y, H63D, S65C, and W169X were 3.2, 13.4, 1.3, and 0.04%, respectively. Our results confirm the existence of a decreasing frequency of C282Y allele from upper to lower Northern Italy. This difference is probably related to the larger Celtic component of upper Northern Italian populations in which screening studies for haemochromatosis may even be cost effective. W169X, due to its severity, should be looked for in all haemochromatosis patients of Northern ancestry with an incomplete HFE genotype.
 
BACKGROUND: An increasing number of patients with hepatolithiasis were diagnosed at an early stage in China. Laparoscopic surgery has introduced new methods of treating this condition. AIM: To investigate the patient selection, operative technique, and efficacy of laparoscopic hepatectomy with bile duct exploration for the treatment of hepatolithiasis. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The clinical data of 116 patients who underwent laparoscopic hepatectomy (laparoscopic group) and 78 patients who underwent open hepatectomy (open group) for hepatolithiasis were retrospectively analyzed, and were compared with the recent reports. RESULTS: The laparoscopic group had a longer duration of operation (323.3±103.0min vs. 272.8±66.8min, p<0.05) and shorter postoperative hospital stay (13.1±5.6days vs. 16.5±8.4days, p<0.05) than the open group. There were no significant differences between the two groups in intraoperative blood loss or transfusion rate, postoperative complications, calculus clearance, calculus recurrence, or recurrent cholangitis (p>0.05 for all). Efficacy in the laparoscopic group was similar to that in other recently reported studies. CONCLUSIONS: Laparoscopic hepatectomy with bile duct exploration is safe and feasible for early stage localized hepatolithiasis, with an efficacy similar to that of open surgery. Anatomic hepatectomy is important for achieving good therapeutic outcomes.
 
MicroRNA-122 is a liver specific microRNA and is elevated in the sera of patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection. Hepatic microRNA-122 levels have been described to be reduced in patients with non-response to antiviral treatment with pegylated interferon-α and ribavirin. Assessment of differences in serum microRNA-122 levels in patients with sustained virological response and non-response. RNA was extracted from pretreatment serum samples and microRNA-122 and microRNA-16 levels were measured by quantitative PCR and compared in patients with sustained virological response and non-response. The levels of microRNA-122 and microRNA-16 in the sera did not differ between patients with sustained virological response and non-response. Serum microRNA-122 is not a suitable marker for treatment response prediction to combination therapy with pegylated interferon-α and ribavirin in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection.
 
Adequate compliance with the existing guidelines for cleaning and disinfection of gastrointestinal endoscopes and accessories is necessary to obtain high-level disinfection and prevent pathogen transmission. To investigate cleaning and disinfection practice in China. A questionnaire with 21 questions concerning gastrointestinal endoscopy reprocessing was sent by e-mail to 189 endoscopy units in China. One hundred and twenty-two (80.39%) of the 189 units responded. Compared with the low-workload units (<5000 procedures/year), the high-workload units (≥5000 procedures/year) had a significantly higher number of gastrointestinal endoscopes (25.8 ± 3.6 vs. 4.7 ± 1.8, p < 0.01) and the higher possessing rate of automated endoscope reprocessors (43.9% vs. 3.1%, p<0.01). Glutaraldehyde was the most commonly employed disinfectant (88.5%) in all the units. In 23/122 (18.8%) units, the exposure time to glutaraldehyde was <45 min in the case of infectious disease patients. Eighty-six of 122 (70.5%) units reused disposable materials, of which 21/86 (24.4%) reused disposable forceps and disposable polypectomy hooks, and 2/86 (1.6%) reused disposable injection needles intermittently. Although gastrointestinal endoscopy has developed rapidly in China in the past decade, there is still room for improvement in the practice of endoscopy reprocessing, especially in middle-sized and small cities.
 
Most malignancies with peritoneal infiltration, especially ovarian cancers and chronic liver diseases associated with ascites give rise to high serum CA-125 levels. Tuberculous peritonitis is another cause for high serum CA-125 levels. To investigate the relation between serum CA-125 level and response to treatment in tuberculous peritonitis patients. Ten patients with tuberculous peritonitis were enrolled in the study. Definite diagnosis of tuberculous peritonitis was made by acid-fast smears, specific culture, and polymerase chain reaction. Serum CA-125 levels were measured before and at the fourth month of treatment. Before antituberculous treatment, serum CA-125 levels of all patients were very high (mean+/-SD: 475. 80+/-106. 19 U/ml) and comparable with those of patients with ovarian cancers. At the end of the fourth month of treatment, serum CA-125 levels in all patients decreased to within normal limits (<35 U/ml)(20.80:+/-5.18 U/ml) in parallel with the clinical improvement. The differences in CA125 levels before and after treatment were statistically significant (p<0.001). Results of our study suggest that serum CA-125 levels in patients with tuberculous peritonitis are as high as ovarian cancers associated with peritoneal infiltration. By the end of the fourth month of antituberculous therapy, serum CA-125 levels have returned to normal. We, therefore, suggest that serum CA-125 can be used to evaluate the efficacy of therapy in tuberculous peritonitis.
 
Oesophageal manometry is the standard for diagnosis of oesophageal motor disorders. Minimal data exist assessing the effect of gender on normal oesophageal manometry values. Evaluate the impact of gender on normal oesophageal manometry values. Healthy volunteers were recruited from the Jacksonville metropolitan area. Exclusion criteria were symptoms suggestive of oesophageal disease, medication use or concurrent illness that could affect oesophageal manometry. All underwent oesophageal manometry using a solid-state system with wet swallows. Sixty-three males and 66 females were enrolled. All completed oesophageal manometry without difficulty. Resting lower oesophageal sphincter pressure, distal oesophageal contraction duration and distal oesophageal body contraction amplitude values were significantly higher in females while distal oesophageal body contraction velocity was significantly lower in females (p<0.05). No differences were seen in other oesophageal manometry parameters. Significant gender differences exist in normal oesophageal manometry. Gender-specific reference values for oesophageal manometry are needed for accurate diagnosis of oesophageal motility disorders.
 
Endoscopic 13C-urea breath test may avoid contamination of oral urease and rapidly discriminate Helicobacter pylori-positive and Helicobacter pylori-negative patients. To compare the accuracy of endoscopic 13C-urea breath test with conventional invasive methods in diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori infection. One hundred patients who attended for routine upper gastrointestinal endoscopy were included. 13C-urea was applied to the stomach through the working channel of endoscope at the end of endoscopic examination. Breath samples were collected before endoscopy and 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 min after consumption of 100 or 50 mg 13C-urea. Helicobacter pylori infection was defined as those with positive culture or positive results of both histology and CLO test. The accuracy of 100 mg endoscopic 13C-urea breath test was significantly higher than that of culture and CLO test (100% vs. 88% and 92%, p = 0.02 and 0.03, respectively). The accuracy of 50 mg endoscopic 13C-urea breath test was higher than that of histology and CLO test (98% vs. 90% and 96%, respectively), although the differences were not statistically significant. Endoscopic 13C-urea breath test has a higher accuracy compared with biopsy-based modalities. It may be a good choice to diagnose Helicobacter pylori infection if endoscopy is indicated for a dyspeptic patient.
 
To grade liver damage, Child-Pugh classification is used but these tests do not reflect the quantitative functional hepatic reserve. 13C-Phenylalanine Breath Test and 13C-Methacetin Breath Test are evaluated as possible tools, being both safe and easy to perform, to quantify functional hepatic reserve in chronic liver disease patients. Both tests were performed in 48 healthy volunteers and 48 chronic liver disease patients. Breath samples were collected after taking 13C-Phenylalanine (100 mg) and 13C-Methacetin (75 mg). 13CO2 enrichment was measured using mass spectrometry Both tests discriminated the hepatic function, decreasing results of the 13CO2 enrichment agreeing with the increasing severity of the hepatic patient (13C-Phenylalanine Breath Test multiple correlation coefficient: 0.72, global p<0.001; Methacetin Breath Test: 0.73, p<0.001). Correlation between 13C-Phenylalanine Breath Test and Methacetin Breath Test was 0.63, p<0.001. If both tests were pathological, the sensitivity for the diagnosis of hepatic dysfunction was high (98%), although the specificity decreased to 60%. Best results were obtained at 30 minutes with 13C-Phenylalanine Breath Test and at 10 minutes with Methacetin Breath Test. Both 13C-Phenylalanine Breath Test and Methacetin Breath Test are safe and easy tests to perform and both are able to discriminate the hepatic functional capacity between the different groups studied.
 
The urea breath test is a noninvasive and very accurate test for the diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori infection. However, false negative urea breath test results have been reported to occur in a considerable percentage of the individuals taking proton pump inhibitors; the interval needed to be completely confident that false negative tests had been excluded has varied among the different studies between 6 and 14 days. The impact of H(2)-receptor antagonists on the accuracy of urea breath test remains controversial, although, in contrast with proton pump inhibitors, the data suggest that H(2)-receptor antagonists, for the most part, have little effect on the result of the urea breath test. The urea breath test does not represent a suitable tool for estimating the density of H. pylori colonization. The only quantitative information to be obtained from the urea breath test is that the higher the delta value, the lower the probability of a false-positive urea breath test result. Although some authors have demonstrated a correlation between urea breath test values and histological lesions of the gastric mucosa, the practical utility of this relationship remains unclear. It has been suggested that the pretreatment urea breath test has the potential to identify patients who require modification of the standard therapeutic regimen (for example, prolonging the duration of treatment or increasing the pharmacological dose when bacterial density is high), but other studies could not confirm this relationship. Some studies have shown that the urea breath test is less accurate in patients who have undergone partial gastrectomy. Finally, in contrast with biopsy-based methods, which are responsible for a high number of false-negative results when used to diagnose H. pylori infection in patients with upper gastrointestinal bleeding, urea breath test seems not to be negatively influenced by the presence of this complication.
 
13C-breath tests provide a non-invasive diagnostic method with high patient acceptance. In vivo, human and also bacterial enzyme activities, organ functions and transport processes can be assessed semiquantitatively using breath tests. As the samples can directly be analysed using non-dispersive isotope selective infrared spectrometers or sent to analytical centres by normal mail breath tests can be easily performed also in primary care settings. The 13C-urea breath test which detects a Helicobacter pylori infection of the stomach is the most prominent application of stable isotopes. Determination of gastric emptying using test meals labelled with 13C-octanoic or 13C-acetic acid provide reliable results compared to scintigraphy. The clinical use of 13C-breath tests for the diagnosis of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency is still limited due to expensive substrates and long test periods with many samples. However, the quantification of liver function using hepatically metabolised 13C-substrates is clinically helpful in special indications. The stable isotope technique presents an elegant, non-invasive diagnostic tool promising further options of clinical applications. This review is aimed at providing an overview on the relevant clinical applications of 13C-breath tests.
 
Conventional treatment options for patients with severe steroid-refractory ulcerative colitis include intravenous cyclosporine, which is frequently burdened by toxicity, or colectomy. Preliminary data suggest a benefit from anti-tumour necrosis factor alpha (Infliximab) therapy in patients with steroid refractory ulcerative colitis. To evaluate the efficacy of Infliximab in the treatment of severe ulcerative colitis refractory to conventional therapy A series of 13 patients with severe ulcerative colitis, refractory to therapy with methyl-prednisolone, 60 mg daily for seven or more days, were treated with a single intravenous infusion of Infliximab 5 mg/kg. Of these 13 patients, 10 (77%) had a clinical response to therapy defined by a clinical activity index 10 on two consecutive days. In 2 patients (15%) total colectomy was necessary on account of clinical worsening whilst one patient refused surgery and was lost to follow-up. All patients who responded showed very rapid clinical improvement, within 2 to 3 days of infusion. Infusion with Infliximab produced no significant adverse events. The mean time of follow-up was 10.1 months (range 5-12; during this time, 9 out of 10 patients (90%) maintained clinical remission and were able to discontinue corticosteroid therapy. Infliximab appears to be an effective agent for inducing long-standing remission in refractory patients with severe ulcerative colitis.
 
Number of IL-13, IL-4 and IFN- ␥ secreting cells observed in gastric mucosa from a representative case of H. pylori -negative (A) and H. pylori -positive (B) patient, before and after GAE stimulation (gastric antigenic extract: 100 ␮ l OD 560 : 0.2). 
A shift from Th1 (IFN-gamma) towards Th2 (IL-4)-type immune response was found in patients with gastric cancer and dysplasia. Recently, IL-13 has been described as a central mediator of Th2-dominant immune response in different inflammatory diseases. to analyse, by Enzyme-Linked-Immuno-SPOT (ELISPOT) assay and immunohistochemistry, the IL-13 production of mononuclear cells obtained from gastric biopsies of 19 H. pylori-negative subjects and 23 H. pylori-positive patients. By ELISPOT, we did not find any significant variation of the spot range number of IL-13, IL-4 and IFN-gamma secreting cells, irrespective of H. pylori status. After antigenic exposition, the spot range for IL-13, IL-4 and IFN-gamma significantly increased (p<.0001) only in H. pylori-positive patients. A prevalent Th1 (IFN-gamma) immunoresponse was observed in 2/23 cases with active gastritis, while a prevalent Th2 (IL-13 and IL-4) was detected in 5/23 cases all with atrophic chronic gastritis of whom two with intestinal metaplasia. By immunohistochemistry, IL-13, IL-4 and IFN-gamma were detectable in all cases directly related to the inflammatory infiltrate. In the two cases with intestinal metaplasia, IL-13 and IL-4 were localised in both inflammatory and epithelial cells. This immunopattern was confirmed in selected additional 10 cases of H. pylori-positive chronic atrophic gastritis with intestinal metaplasia and 10 cases of intestinal type gastric cancer. These preliminary results suggest that IL-13 could be implicated in the different outcome of H. pylori infection.
 
Neonatal intrahepatic cholestasis caused by citrin deficiency (NICCD) is a novel inborn error of metabolism due to dysfunction of citrin protein, and much more information about this new disease is still needed for its clinical management. To investigate in detail the clinical and laboratory features of NICCD. 13 NICCD subjects in mainland of China diagnosed in our department since 2006. The anthropometric parameters of the patients at birth were compared with controls, representative biochemical changes and metabolome findings were investigated cross-sectionally, and mutations in the causative gene SLC25A13 were analyzed by protocols established previously. The patients showed reduced birth weight, length and ponderal index. Main clinical manifestations consisted of jaundice, hepato/hepatosplenomegaly and steatohepatosis on ultrasonography. Biochemical analysis revealed intrahepatic cholestasis, delayed switch of AFP to albumin, and elevated triglyceride, total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol together with reduced HDL-cholesterol. Metabolome findings included co-existence of markers for galactosemia and tyrosinemia in urine, and elevated Cit, Met, Thr, Tyr, Lys, Arg and Orn in blood. Mutations of 851-854del, IVS6+5G>A, 1638-1660dup, A541D, IVS16ins3kb, R319X and G333D were detected in the gene SLC25A13. The diagnosis of NICCD cannot be established based just on the numerous but non-specific clinical manifestations and biochemical changes. The relatively specific metabolome features provide valuable tools for its screening and diagnosis, while SLC25A13 mutation analysis should be taken as one of the reliable tools for the definitive diagnosis. The body proportionality at birth, steatohepatosis on ultrasonography, delayed switch of AFP to albumin, dyslipidemia pattern, urinary metabolome features and the novel mutation G333D expanded the clinical spectrum of NICCD.
 
The best timing and the best cut-off level of the 13C-urea breath test have not yet been well established. To evaluate the cut-off value and the influence of medication on the 13C-urea breath test as measured by infrared spectrometry. A series of 223 patients, sent for endoscopy performed 13C-urea breath test in fasting conditions with 75 mg of 13C-urea and 20 ml of citric acid. Breath samples were collected before and then 10, 20, 25 and 30 minutes after ingestion. As gold standard, histological examination of gastric biopsies was used. A questionnaire was completed concerning the intake of medication, likely to influence the test, in the 2 months preceding the test. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value at 10, 20, 25 and 30 minutes at different cut-off values (3, 3. 5, 4, 4. 5, 5.0 0/00 DOB] were calculated. A total of 182 patients did not take medication. There was no significant difference between the different cut-off levels at different times. Compared with the group of 41 patients who did take medication, likely to influence the test, the differences were significant (Fisher exact test). There was no significant difference between the different cut-off values. A 10-minute test with a cut-off level between 4 and 5% delta over baseline (sensitivity: 100%, specificity: 95%) is, therefore, proposed. To avoid false negative results due to unknown intake of medication, every patient submitted to the 13C-urea breath test should fill out a questionnaire.
 
The (13)C-methacetin-breath test and also several noninvasive blood tests comprising routine laboratory parameters have been proposed to predict fibrosis and cirrhosis in chronic hepatitis C. The aim of the study was to compare the diagnostic accuracy between these tests referring to hepatic histology as gold standard. 96 patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection underwent percutaneous liver biopsy and the (13)C-methacetin-breath test. The Fibroindex, the aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio index , and the aspartate aminotransferase to alanine aminotransferase ratio were used as parameters for the staging of fibrosis. The main endpoint was the area under the characteristic curves for the diagnosis of advanced fibrosis (F3-F4) and cirrhosis (F4) according to the Batts Ludwig criteria. ROC analysis revealed a cut-off <14.6 per thousand best with 92.6% sensitivity and 84.1% specificity for the (13)C-methacetin-breath test, for the Fibroindex >1.82 70.4% sensitivity and 91.3% specificity, for the aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio >1.0 a 66.7% sensitivity and 75.4% specificity, and for the aspartate aminotransferase to alanine aminotransferase ratio >1.0 63.0% sensitivity and 59.4% specificity in predicting liver cirrhosis. The areas under the curve for the breath test, the Fibroindex, aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio and the aspartate aminotransferase to alanine aminotransferase ratio were 0.958, 0.845, 0.799, and 0.688, respectively, when predicting cirrhosis. For identifying patients with advanced fibrosis, the areas under the curve were 0.827, 0.804, 0.779, and 0.561, respectively. Discordances between Fibroindex (21%), aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio (29%) or aspartate aminotransferase to alanine aminotransferase ratio (37.6%) and liver biopsy were significantly more frequent than between (13)C-breath test (11.6%) and liver biopsy (P<0.05). The (13)C-methacetin-breath test is more reliable in predicting advanced fibrosis and cirrhosis than simple biochemical parameters (aspartate aminotransferase to platelet ratio; aspartate aminotransferase to alanine aminotransferase ratio).
 
The activity of epithelial lactase (LCT) associates with a polymorphism 13910 bp upstream the LCT-encoding gene (LCT-13910C>T). The relationship between LCT-13910C>T polymorphism and risk for colorectal cancer is unclear. We examined the relationship between the LCT-13910C>T polymorphism causing lactose intolerance and risk for colorectal cancer/polyps onset in the Italian population. 793 subjects (306 with colorectal cancer, 176 with polyps and 311 controls) were genotyped for the LCT-13910C>T variant by TaqMan real time-PCR. Lactose malabsorption linked to the CC genotype did not associate with an increased risk for either colorectal cancer (OR=1.041; 95% CI=0.751-1.442; p=0.868) or polyps (OR=0.927; 95% CI=0.630-1.363; p=0.769). There was no association with colorectal cancer/polyps site. 60% of the subjects overall bore the CC genotype. In the Italian population the LCT-13910C>T polymorphism is not associated to the risk for colorectal cancer or polyps.
 
One of the disadvantages of '3C-urea breath test is possible interference by urease activity not related to Helicobacterpylori. We design the simple and non-invasive modification to avoid the contamination of 13CO(2) produced in the mouth. One hundred and twenty-nine patients who underwent diagnostic upper endoscopy were enrolled. Within 1 week of the endoscopic procedure, each patient received the modified 13C-urea breath test. Breath samples were collected at baseline and at 1, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 min after ingestion of 100 mg 13C-urea solution through the mouth and the nostril at each time point. The breath delta13CO2 value through the nostril at 1 min was already higher in H. pylori-positive patients than in H. pylori-negative patients. Using 2.5% as the cut-off value, the sensitivity and specificity of the modified 13C-urea breath test at 20 min were both 100%, whereas the sensitivity and specificity of the standard 13C-urea breath test were 97.7 and 94%, respectively, using 3% as the cut-off value. The modified 13C-urea breath test in which breath samples are collected through the nostril provides an easy way of avoiding false-positive results for the detection of H. pylori infection.
 
To study if there is a correlation between 13C-urea breath test values prior to treatment and the response to first-line and rescue Helicobacter pylori eradication therapies. Six-hundred patients with peptic ulcer or functional dyspepsia infected by H. pylori were prospectively studied. Pre-treatment H. pylori infection was established by 13C-urea breath test. Three-hundred and twelve patients were treated with first-line eradication regimen, and 288 received a rescue regimen. H. pylori eradication was defined as a negative 13C-urea breath test, 8 weeks after completion of treatment. H. pylori eradication was achieved in 444 patients. No statistically significant differences were demonstrated when mean delta 13C-urea breath test values were compared between patients with eradication success and failure (49.4+/-33 versus 49.2+/-31). Differences in mean pre-treatment delta 13CO2 between patients with eradication success/failure were not demonstrated either when first-line or rescue regimens were prescribed. With the cut-off point of pre-treatment delta 13CO2 set at 35 units, sensitivity and specificity for the prediction of H. pylori eradication success was 43 and 60%. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve evaluating all the cut-off points of the pre-treatment delta 13CO2 for the diagnosis of H. pylori eradication was 0.5. Finally, delta 13CO2 values did not influence the eradication in the logistic regression model. No correlation was observed between 13C-urea breath test values before treatment and the response to first-line and rescue H. pylori eradication therapies. Therefore, we conclude that the quantification of delta 13CO2 prior to treatment is not useful to predict the success or failure of eradicating therapy.
 
Graham et al. [Lancet, I (1987) 1174] found a late increase of 13C enrichment in the 13C-urea breath test 120 min after administration of labeled urea to patients without Helicobacter pylori infection. This may give false positive results. We designed this study to elucidate the contribution of the gastrointestinal tract below the stomach to the 13C-urea breath test. Twenty-eight patients with dyspeptic symptoms who gave their consent were enrolled. Patients underwent the 13C-urea breath tests both via the mouth (as usual) and the duodenum (labeled urea introduced to the second portion). Breath samples were collected at baseline, 5, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, 150 and 180 min for analysis. H. pylori status was defined by the CLOtest and by histological examination. There was no late increase in 13C enrichment of 13C-urea breath test for eight H. pylori negative patients either via the mouth or the duodenum. For those H. pylori positive patients, seventeen had no late rise 13C enrichment of the 13C-urea breath test via the duodenum and three patients had a rise after 15 min. No late rise in 13CO2 excretion to cause a positive 13C-urea breath test up to 180 min after the administration of labeled urea was found in the present study.
 
The intake of proton pump inhibitors may interfere with the reliability of the urea breath test. Prospective study to assess the accuracy of the urea breath test during the first days of therapy with proton pump inhibitors. Thirty patients who needed to start proton pump inhibitors therapy and 53 volunteers. A 13C-urea breath test was performed respectively before starting proton pump inhibitors therapy and every morning before its intake up until 10 days. The test was considered positive for values of 13CO2 > or = 3.0% delta over baseline. The coefficient of reproducibility for 95% interval of confidence of the urea breath test was calculated in both groups. Of the 30 patients receiving proton pump inhibitors, 47% were positive for Helicobacter pylori. Among these, 43% developed false negative breath tests in the first 10 days. False positive results occurred in 37.5% of H. pylori-negative subjects in the first 10 days. The coefficient of reproducibility of the urea breath test was significantly higher in the group treated with proton pump inhibitors (11.0 versus 1.8 for the control group, p < 0.0001). The intake of proton pump inhibitors impairs the accuracy of the 13C-urea breath test. False negative and false positive 13C-urea breath tests are common, occur as soon as after 1 day and increase with prolonged duration of treatment. The coefficient of reproducibility of the test in patients receiving proton pump inhibitors is not acceptable for clinical purpose and the test should not be performed once the medication has been started.
 
13C-urea breath test is one of the best methods for the diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori infection. Although a citric acid solution is generally used prior to urea intake, the superiority of this strategy has not been sufficiently demonstrated. Thus, our aim was to compare 13C-urea breath test with and without citric acid solution, to evaluate whether 13C-urea breath test can also achieve favourable results when the test meal is omitted. 13C-urea breath test with and without citric acid were compared prospectively in 53 subjects without prior Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy prescription. Basal samples and at 15', 30', and 45' after taking 100 mg of 13C-urea were obtained. The gold standard for Helicobacter pylori diagnosis was the 13C-urea breath test result with citric acid at 30', and "Delta Over Baseline" values >5 at that time were considered positive. The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection was 68%. Mean Delta Over Baseline values with citric acid at 15', 30' and 45' were: 29.6+/-39, 30.8+/-37 and 24.6+/-27; whereas respective values without citric acid were lower: 14.9+/-22, 12.2+/-17 and 10D+/-13 (p<O. 001 for all comparisons, Wilcoxon test for paired data). Thus, the area under the curve (constructed with Delta Over Baseline values at different times) with citric acid was 85+/- 102, and 37+/-50 without citric acid [p<0.001). Correlation coefficient between Delta Over Baseline values with and without citric acid at 30' was 0.73 (p<0.0001). The percentage of subjects achieving the highest Delta Over Baseline value at 15', 30' and 45' with citric acid was 51%, 30% and 19%, whereas without citric acid it was 51%, 26% and 23% (non-significant differences). The area under receiver operating characteristic curve for 13C-urea breath test without citric acid was: 0.98 at 15', 1 at 30' and 0.97 at 45'. The best cut-off point for 13C-urea breath test without citric acid at 30' was anywhere between 3. 3 and 3.9 (that is, a lower value than that usually considered with citric acid), with 100% (95% confidence interval, 90-100%) sensitivity and 100% [82-100%) specificity 13C-urea breath test values with citric acid are higher than those obtained without citric acid, although this difference does not imply a diagnostic superiority in untreated patients when considering 13C-urea breath test without citric acid at 30'. Therefore, for the diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori infection in untreated patients, citric acid solution in 13C-urea breath test protocol can be omitted.
 
Radioscintigraphy is the gold standard for evaluation of gastric emptying in children, but requires exposure to ionising radiation. Therefore, the aim of the study was to validate the non-radioactive 13C-acetate breath test in children in comparison to radioscintigraphy as reference method. Twenty-nine children with dyspeptic or respiratory symptoms were tested for gastric emptying disorders simultaneously performing the 13C-acetate breath test and radioscintigraphy. A semisolid oatmeal was doubly labelled with 150 mg 13C-acetate and 50 MBq 99mTechnetium. Breath samples were collected every 5-10 min for 4 h. After mass spectrometrical 13C-analysis, curve fitting of the 13C-cumulative recovery to the modified power exponential function Y = m(1 - e(-kt) calculated the half emptying times of the breath test (t 1/2 (breath)). Scintigraphic image acquisition began immediately after the ingestion of the 99mTechnetium-labelled testmeal at a rate of one frame every 60 s for 1 h. Six children showed delayed gastric emptying in scintigraphy (t 1/2(scinti) > 60 min). All these children had prolonged half emptying times t 1/2 (breath) in the 13C-acetate breath test. Using a cut-off t 1/2(breath) > 90 min, the 13C-acetate breath test had a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 85%. Scintigraphic and breath test half emptying times were linearly correlated (Y = 0.80x + 47.68, r = 0.76, P < 0.00001). The 13C-acetate breath test proves to be a reliable, non-radioactive alternative for measuring gastric emptying in children.
 
Background: In a 1996 survey, prevalence of hepatitis C virus antibodies (anti-HCV) in a southern Italian town was 12.6%. Aims: To identify changes in the epidemiology of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Methods: Anti-HCV, HCV-RNA (PCR, detection limit 15 IU/mL), HCV genotype (Innolipa). Were performed in a random 1:4 systematic sample of the general population. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to estimate factors independently associated with the likelihood of anti-HCV positivity. Results: Of 1012 subjects, 58 (5.7%) were anti-HCV-positive, compared to 12.6% 14 years earlier. Prevalence was 0.4% in individuals <30 years old and 31.8% in those ≥ 70 years old. Among 139 HCV-negative in 1996 re-sampled in 2010, only one had seroconverted (incidence: 0.05 × 100 persons/year). Alanine transaminase levels were elevated in 8 (13.8%). HCV-RNA was detected by PCR in 46.5% anti-HCV-positive subjects. In 2010 59% were genotype 2-infected, in 1996 50.7% genotype 1-infected. Previous use of non-disposable glass syringes was a strong independent predictor (OR 3.2; CI 95%=1.4-7.3). Conclusion: Epidemiology of HCV infection in an endemic area of south Italy has changed over 14 years, now largely confined to the oldest age group; this seems to be due to the disappearance of its past main mode of transmission, namely the use of glass syringes.
 
It is still unclear whether recent advancements in colorectal cancer research have led to an improvement in management and prognosis of the disease. Through the data of a specialized colorectal cancer Registry we aimed at analysing pathological staging and 5-year survival of all patients with malignancies of large bowel diagnosed between 1984 and 1997. Main objective was to ascertain whether or not we are making progress in the control of this common neoplasm. During the 14-year period 1984-97, a total of 2,240 colorectal cancer patients were registered, for a crude incidence rate of 64.5 and 55.2/100,000/year in males and females, respectively Tumours were staged with "Tumour, Node, Metastasis" system, corresponding to Dukes' classification, into four main groups. Survival was assessed with Life Table analysis, and statistical significance--between various subgroups--evaluated with Log-Rank Test. Crude incidence rates of colorectal neoplasms showed minor fluctuations during initial period of registration, increasing sharply after 1990 mainly due to localized (stage I and II) lesions and, to a lesser degree, to stage III tumours. Number of advanced (stage IV and unstaged) malignancies remained virtually stable. When results were expressed as percent of total cases, the fraction of localized lesions increased from 39% in the biennium 1984-5 to 51.6% in 1986-97, and the proportion of advanced tumours fell from 39% to 21.6% (p for trend <0.001). As expected, 5-year survival was significantly (p<0.002) more favourable for individuals diagnosed in 1990-91 than for patients registered in 1984-89. In Northern Italy, incidence rates of colorectal carcinoma are rising. This trend is associated with a sharp increase of newly detected localized lesions and with a significant improvement of overall 5-year survival. The result may be attributed to several concomitant factors, such as: A] wider use of colonoscopy, B) increased education of patients, C) more attention given to symptoms.
 
Percutaneous drainage of pyogenic liver abscess has become first-line treatment. In the past surgical drainage was preferred in some centres. The aim of this retrospective study was to assess the effectiveness of percutaneous treatments and surgical drainage, in terms of treatment success, hospital stay and costs. Data of 148 patients (90 males; 58 females; mean age, 61 yrs; range, 30-86 yrs) were retrospectively analysed. Patients' outcomes, including the length of hospital stay, procedure-related complications, treatment failure and death, were recorded. Multiple logistic regression model was used for statistical analysis. One hundred and four patients (83 with solitary and 21 with multiple abscesses) were treated percutaneously, either by needle aspiration (91 patients) or catheter drainage (13 patients) depending on the abscess's size, and 44 patients (30 with solitary and 14 with multiple abscesses) were treated surgically. There was no statistically significant difference in patients' demographics or abscess characteristics between groups. Hospital stay was longer, and costs were higher in patients treated surgically (p<0.001). There was statistically significant difference in morbidity rate between groups (p<0.001). No death occurred in both groups. Percutaneous and surgical treatment of pyogenic liver abscesses are both effective, nevertheless percutaneous drainage carries lower morbidity and is cheaper.
 
Comparisons between safety and efficacy of home parenteral nutrition and of intestinal transplantation for treatment of chronic intestinal failure derived from observational studies. To present the 16-year experience of home parenteral nutrition by the Chronic Intestinal Failure Centre of Bologna University. A total of 40 adult patients were enrolled between 1986 and 2001. Safety indices: survival and cause of death, catheter-related bloodstream infection, deep vein thrombosis, liver disease. Efficacy indices: nutritional and rehabilitation status, quality of life (SF36 instrument), re-hospitalisation rate. Statistics: Kaplan-Maier analysis and Cox model for survival probability and risk factors; logistic regression for catheter-related bloodstream infection risk factors. Survival rates at 1, 3 and 5 years were 97, 82 and 67% respectively. Survival was higher in patients < or = 40 years. One death was home parenteral nutrition-related. Incidence of catheter-related bloodstream infection: 0.30/year home parenteral nutrition, was lower in patients treated by a specialized nursing protocol. Incidence of deep vein thrombosis was 0.05/year home parenteral nutrition. Hepatosteatosis occurred in 55%. Body weight remained stable or increased in 80%. Rehabilitation was total or partial in 74%. Re-hospitalisation rate was 0.70/year home parenteral nutrition. Quality of life scored significantly lower than in healthy populations in six out of eight domains. Home parenteral nutrition is a safe and efficacious therapy for chronic intestinal failure. Survival compares favourably with survival after intestinal transplantation.
 
Acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) is characterised by acute hepatic insult manifesting as jaundice and coagulopathy, complicated within 4 weeks by ascites and/or encephalopathy in patients with previously diagnosed or undiagnosed chronic liver disease. We studied the clinical, biochemical and etiological profiles of ACLF patients investigating variables which could predict mortality. Consecutive ACLF patients were enrolled and given standard intensive care management. They were monitored for predictors of 90-day mortality. 91 patients were included; besides jaundice (median bilirubin 23.1mg/dL) and coagulopathy, acute onset ascites with or without encephalopathy was the presenting symptom in 92%. In all patients a first diagnosis of chronic liver disease was made, mainly due to hepatitis B (37%) or alcohol (34%). Reactivation of chronic hepatitis B and alcoholic hepatitis were the common acute insults. The 90-day mortality was 63%. On multivariate analysis, hepatic encephalopathy, low serum sodium, and high INR were found to be independent baseline predictors of mortality. Amongst all severity scores studied, MELD, SOFA and APACHE-II scores had AUROCs of >0.8 which was significantly higher than that of Child-Turcotte-Pugh. ACLF has very high mortality. Hepatic encephalopathy, low serum sodium and high INR predict poor outcome. Mortality can also be predicted by baseline MELD, SOFA or APACHE-II scores.
 
Previously we showed that a probiotic combination with L. rhamnosus GG was beneficial as an adjuvant therapy during H. pylori eradication. To evaluate whether probiotic combination with LGG adheres to the upper gastrointestinal mucosa and modifies H. pylori colonisation and H. pylori induced inflammation. Thirteen patients referred for gastroduodenoscopy received a drink consisting of equal doses (2.5x10(9)CFU) of LGG, L. rhamnosus LC705, Propionibacterium freudenreichii JS and Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12 daily. Recovery of probiotics in biopsies (antrum, corpus, duodenum) and faecal samples was evaluated by strain-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction. H. pylori colonization and gastric inflammation was investigated by urease activity ((13)C-urea breath test), histology and serum pepsinogen I, II and gastrin-17 measurements. Twelve patients were fully investigated; of these three of the patients had LGG adhering to the biopsies at end of the intervention. Other probiotic strains were not detected, even though the recovery of all individual probiotic strains from the faeces was significantly increased (p<0.01). After the treatment, the level of (13)C-urea breath test (p=0.063) and gastrin-17 (p=0.046) decreased. The decreases in (13)C-urea breath test and gastrin-17 indicate that the probiotic combination exerts a beneficial effect on gastric mucosa in H. pylori infected patients. LGG showed marginal ability to adhere to the upper gastrointestinal tract mucosa.
 
Several tests have been proposed for evaluating dyspeptic symptoms and their relationship to the underlying gastric disease. Serum pepsinogens and gastrin-17 are known to be useful biomarkers for the detection of gastric pathologies. To evaluate the capability of screening dyspeptic patients in the primary care by analyses of serum pepsinogens I (sPGI) and II (sPGII), gastrin-17 (sG-17) and the IgG anti-Helicobacter pylori antibodies (IgG-Hp). Three hundred and sixty-two consecutive patients with dyspeptic symptoms (208 females, mean age 50.6 +/- 16 years, range 18-88 years) referred by general practitioners for upper gastrointestinal endoscopy were enrolled. A blood sample was taken from each subject for IgG-Hp, sPGI, sPGII and sG-17 analyses. Two hundred and eighty-seven patients had a complete screening; of these, 132 resulted positive for Hp infection. Patients with atrophic chronic gastritis showed significantly lower serum pepsinogen I levels and sPGI/sPGII ratio than patients with non-atrophic chronic gastritis. Moreover, by calculating the values of sPGI by sG-17 and sG-17 by sPGII/sPGI, subjects with atrophic chronic gastritis could be distinguished from those with non-atrophic chronic gastritis and from those with normal mucosa, respectively. sG-17 levels were found to be a useful biomarker for the detection of antral atrophic gastritis, while the combination of sPGI, the sPGI/sPGII ratio and sG-17 was found effective in identifying corpus atrophy. A panel composed of PGI, PGII, G-17 and IgG-Hp could be used as a first approach in the 'test and scope' and/or 'test and treat' strategy in the primary care management of dyspeptic patients.
 
Primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis are two cholestatic diseases characterised by hepatic accumulation of bile acids. This study compares serum bile acid levels in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis and from age and sex-matched non cholestatic donors. Seventeen bile acids were quantified using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. Serum samples from cholestatic patients were compared with those of non-cholestatic donors. The concentration of total bile acids, taurine and glycine conjugates of primary bile acids was elevated in both patients with primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis when compared to non-cholestatic donors. Samples from primary sclerosing cholangitis patients displayed reduced levels of secondary acids, when compared to non cholestatic and primary biliary cirrhosis sera. The ratio of total glycine versus total taurine conjugates was reduced in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis, but not in primary sclerosing cholangitis. The present study suggests that circulating bile acids are altered differentially in primary biliary cirrhosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis patients.
 
Infection with Helicobacter pylori is recognised as a major risk factor for chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer. The association between H. pylori infection and iron deficiency anaemia has been established. Multiple mechanisms have been advocated to explain the relationship between H. pylori and iron status and their association might reduce iron deposit. Aim of this study was to investigate whether H. pylori infection affects iron absorption. The study was designed on a prospective basis. Fifty-five subjects underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and biopsy to investigate the presence of H. pylori and, when this was positive, also search of serum anti-CagA was performed. Tests included an oral iron absorption test with the administration of 1 mg/kg of Fe2+. Iron levels were measured before and 2 h after iron administration (delta iron). H. pylori-positive subjects were administered antibiotic therapy for 1 week and, 2 months later, the oral iron absorption test was repeated and urea-breath test was first performed. H. pylori-positive subjects had lower serum level of ferritin and lower delta iron compared to H. pylori-negative subjects. That difference is significant in anaemic women and is independent of the presence of serum anti-CagA antibodies. After H. pylori eradication iron absorption test was similar to those of non-infected subjects. H. pylori infection impairs iron uptake. That mechanism, together with others, may contribute to the depletion of iron in infected patients.
 
Environmental and genetic factors play a role in the pathogenesis and natural history of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In 114 subjects with NAFLD we report the prevalence and correlation with clinical parameters of three polymorphisms: interleukin-6 (-174G/C), plasma cell differentiation antigen (K121Q) and microsomal transfer protein (-493G/T). In 59 biopsied patients with NAFLD the polymorphisms were also related to histological features. IL-6 -174C variant was more prevalent (p<0.01) in NAFLD compared to controls. In the NAFLD group, C carriers had higher HOMA-IR and fasting insulin than G carriers (p<0.05). The prevalence of IL-6/C variant was higher (83%) in biopsied than in not biopsied subjects (66%) (p<0.05). In biopsied subjects, C carriers had higher HOMA and fasting insulin (p<0.05) compared than those with G allele. The prevalence of IL-6 -174G/C polymorphism was significantly higher in NASH than in NAFLD (p=0.048). At logistic regression analysis IL-6 -174C was an independent predictor of both NAFLD (OR 4.116, C.I. 1.126-15.048) and NASH (OR 7.035, C.I. 1.167-42.394). Conversely, the distribution of PC-1 and MTP polymorphisms was not significantly different compared to the control group, nor associated with clinical or histological characteristics. Our data suggest that IL-6 -174C genetic polymorphisms, involved in inflammation and insulin resistance, are associated with NASH. These data may contribute to the understanding of the genetic susceptibility to NAFLD.
 
The role of (18)fluoro-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is debated. We retrospectively assessed the value of (18)fluoro-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography in addition to conventional imaging as a staging modality in pancreatic cancer. (18)Fluoro-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography was performed in 72 patients with resectable pancreatic carcinoma after multi-detector computed tomography positron emission tomography was considered positive for a maximum standardized uptake value >3. Overall, 21% of patients had a maximum standardized uptake value ≤3, and 60% of those had undergone neoadjuvant treatment (P=0.0001). Furthermore, 11% of patients were spared unwarranted surgery since positron emission tomography/computed tomography detected metastatic disease. All liver metastases were subsequently identified with contrast-enhanced ultrasound. Sensitivity and specificity of positron emission tomography/computed tomography for distant metastases were 78% and 100%. The median CA19.9 concentration was 48.8U/mL for the entire cohort and 292U/mL for metastatic patients (P=0.112). The widespread application of (18)fluoro-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography in patients with resectable pancreatic carcinoma seems not justified. It should be considered in selected patients at higher risk of metastatic disease (i.e. CA19.9>200U/mL) after undergoing other imaging tests. Neoadjuvant treatment is significantly associated with low metabolic activity, limiting the value of positron emission tomography in this setting.
 
The pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-18 and its activator Caspase-1 are involved in acute liver failure and acute-on-chronic-liver-failure. In acute liver failure and acute-on-chronic-liver-failure, the MARS system has been used to support liver function. Enhancement of IL-18, as seen in other extracorporeal-support systems like hemodialysis might thus have mitigated beneficial effects of the MARS system in acute hepatic failure. We measured serum concentrations of IL-18 and Caspase-1 in 10 patients with acute liver failure and 10 patients suffering from acute-on-chronic-liver-failure, who were all treated with MARS. Thirteen patients suffering from chronic hepatic failure and 15 healthy individuals served as controls. Data are given as mean with 95% CI. Baseline IL-18 serum concentrations were significantly increased in acute liver failure and acute-on-chronic-liver-failure patients as compared to chronic hepatic failure (P=0.0039 and P=0.0011, respectively) and controls (P=0.0028 and P=0.0014, respectively). Caspase-1 serum concentrations were as well significantly elevated in the acute liver failure and acute-on-chronic-liver-failure groups as compared to chronic hepatic failure patients (P=0.0039 and P=0.0232, respectively) and controls P<0.0001 and P<0.0007, respectively). IL-18 and Caspase-1 did not change significantly during MARS treatment in acute liver failure and acute-on-chronic-liver-failure patients. MARS had no effect on IL-18 and Caspase-1 serum concentrations in acute liver failure and acute-on-chronic-liver-failure, providing no evidence of harmful effects by the increase of these potentially hepatocidal cytokines.
 
Initial staging of a woman with oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma of the middle third of the oesophagus. Positron emission tomography maximum intensity projection image (A) and sagittal fused positron emission tomography/computed tomography image (B) showing fluorodeoxyglucose uptake in the primary oesophageal tumour (a) (standardized uptake value max 14.8) and in a celiac lymph node (b) (standardixed uptake value max 12.1). 
Initial staging of a woman with squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal. Sagittal fused positron emission tomography/computed image showing uptake in the anal primary tumour (standardized uptake value max 20.7) (a) and in a presacral mass (standardized uptake value max 13.2) (b).
Recommendations for the use fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography in gastrointestinal malignancies.
Fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT) has become a routine imaging modality for many malignancies and its use is currently increasing. In the present review article, we will summarize the evidence for FDG-PET/CT use in digestive cancers (excluding neuroendocrine tumours), and review the existing recommendations. While PET/CT is nowadays considered to be an important tool in the initial workup of oesophageal and anal cancers, new data are emerging regarding its use in assessing therapeutic efficacy, radiotherapy treatment planning, and detection of recurrence in case of isolated tumour marker elevation. Moreover, PET/CT may help decision making by detecting distant metastatic sites especially in potentially resectable metastatic colorectal cancer and, to a lesser extent, in localized gastric and pancreatic cancers. Finally, incidental focal colonic FDG uptakes require exploration by colonoscopy, as they are often associated with premalignant or malignant lesions. Copyright © 2015 Editrice Gastroenterologica Italiana S.r.l. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
 
The roles of positron emission tomography and bone scanning in identifying bone metastasis in gastric cancer are unclear. We compared the usefulness of positron emission tomography-computed tomography and scanning in detecting bone metastasis in gastric cancer. Data from 1485 patients diagnosed with gastric cancer who had undergone positron emission tomography-computed tomography and scanning were reviewed. Of 170 enrolled patients who were suspected of bone metastasis in either positron emission tomography or scanning, 81.2% were confirmed to have bone metastasis. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were 93.5%, 25.0%, and 80.6%, respectively, for positron emission tomography and 93.5%, 37.5%, and 82.9%, respectively, for scanning. 87.7% of patients with bone metastasis showed positive findings on two modalities. 15.0% of solitary bone metastases were positive on positron emission tomography only. Positron emission tomography was superior to scanning for the detection of synchronous bone metastasis, but the two modalities were similar for the detection of metachronous bone metastasis. The concordance rate of response assessment after treatment between two modalities was moderate. Positron emission tomography-computed tomography may be more effective for the diagnosis of bone metastasis in the initial staging workup. Conversely, bone scanning and positron emission tomography-computed tomography may be similarly effective for the detection of metachronous bone metastasis.
 
Top-cited authors
Antonio Gasbarrini
  • Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Giulio Marchesini
  • University of Bologna
Carlotta De Filippo
  • Italian National Research Council
Matteo Ramazzotti
  • University of Florence
Massart Sebastien
  • University of Liège