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author:("gasparini, G")
1.  Prognostic factors for survival in patients with early-intermediate hepatocellular carcinoma undergoing non-surgical therapy: comparison of Okuda, CLIP, and BCLC staging systems in a single Italian centre 
Gut  2005;54(3):411-418.
Background: Several prognostic models have been developed to stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) but there is no general consensus on which is the most reliable. We compared three prognostic indices (Okuda, CLIP, and BCLC scoring systems) in a large series of cirrhotic patients with HCC undergoing non-surgical treatment in terms of their ability to classify patients into different risk groups
Methods: We retrospectively studied 268 Italian patients with HCC. A total of 146 patients were treated with ablation, 132 with percutaneous ethanol injection, and 14 with radiofrequency ablation; 103 underwent transcatheter arterial chemoembolisation and 19 had supportive care alone. Factors determining survival were analysed by univariate and multivariate analysis using the Kaplan-Meier method and Cox proportional hazard regression models. Okuda, CLIP, and BCLC scores evaluated before treatment were applied.
Results: Median survival was 25.7 months. In a multivariate analysis, portal vein thrombosis, α fetoprotein, total bilirubin, and tumour size were significant predictors of survival. Okuda, CLIP, and BCLC scores were all able to predict survival (p<0.001). They identified two, four, and six risk groups, respectively, with a median survival ranging from 27 to 19 months for Okuda, 30 to 5 months for CLIP, and 43 to 7 months for BCLC.
Conclusions: Both CLIP and BCLC scores were more effective than the Okuda score in stratifying patients into different risk groups with early-intermediate HCC. However, the BCLC scoring system gave a better prediction of prognosis in patients with disease diagnosis at a very early stage.
PMCID: PMC1774422  PMID: 15710992
hepatocellular carcinoma; prognostic score; CLIP score; BCLC staging system; Okuda staging; staging systems; liver cirrhosis; survival
2.  Celiac disease and skin: Psoriasis association 
PMCID: PMC4319141  PMID: 17465464
3.  Probiotics and small bowel mucosa: Molecular aspects of their interactions 
Genes & Nutrition  2006;1(2):107-115.
Probiotics are described as “friendly bacteria” that could improve the intestine defense by interacting with the resident microflora. There is a large body of evidence suggesting that consumption of functional food containing probiotics exerts positive effects on human health. Several clinical trials have highlighted the efficiency of probiotics in the prevention and treatment of different gastrointestinal disorders including the prevention of antibiotic associated diarrhea, the remission in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, beneficial effects against Helicobacter pylori infection, positive effects in patients affected by allergies and atopic diseases. The clinical benefits of probiotics use are mainly attributed to their antimicrobial substances production and their positive interactions with the enterocytes to reinforce the intestinal epithelial barrier. Moreover, there is evidence suggesting that probiotics stimulate both specific and non-specific host immune responses. Recently, have been published some experiments performed with the DNA microarray technology which provided a global gene screening of the complex bacteria-host interplay. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanisms by which probiotics enhance the intestinal host defense are still not completely elucidated. Here, we review the experiments and clinical studies to date on the complex mechanisms regulating the communication between probiotics and their hosts.
PMCID: PMC3454684  PMID: 18850204
Intestinal Barrier; Microarray; Mucosal immunity; Probiotics
4.  Cutaneous manifestations in celiac disease 
Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune gluten-dependent enteropathy characterized by atrophy of intestinal villi that improves after gluten-free diet (GFD). CD is often associated with extra-intestinal manifestations; among them, several skin diseases are described in CD patients. The present review reports all CD-associated skin manifestations described in the literature and tries to analyze the possible mechanisms involved in this association. The opportunity to evaluate the possible presence of CD in patients affected by skin disorders is discussed.
PMCID: PMC4066147  PMID: 16521210
Celiac disease; Dermatological disease; AGA; EmA; TTG
5.  Differential diagnosis of periodic fevers 
PMCID: PMC1719261  PMID: 12495986
6.  Mechanisms of hyperinsulinaemia in Child’s disease grade B liver cirrhosis investigated in free living conditions 
Gut  2002;51(6):870-875.
Aims: Human liver cirrhosis is commonly associated with increased fasting and glucose induced insulin concentrations. However, whether the hyperinsulinaemia is a consequence of increased pancreatic insulin secretion, decreased hepatic insulin removal, or impaired feedback regulation of insulin secretion is still doubtful. To investigate these issues, insulin secretion—during 24 hours of standardised living conditions—insulin sensitivity, and hepatic insulin extraction were assessed in cirrhotic patients compared with matched healthy subjects.
Patients: Nine Child’s disease grade B cirrhotic patients and seven healthy volunteers, participated in the study. The subjects were studied on two separate days, one for the assessment of insulin secretion during a standardised 24 hour life period (calorimetric chamber), and one for the determination of insulin sensitivity.
Methods: Insulin secretion rates were reconstructed from plasma C peptide concentrations by deconvolution, and indices of β cell function were derived using a mathematical model describing the functional dependence of insulin secretion on plasma glucose concentrations. Insulin sensitivity was determined using the euglycaemic hyperinsulinaemic clamp technique.
Results: Cirrhotic patients showed a marked hypersecretory response, both in absolute terms (mean (SEM) 295 (53) versus 138 (11) nmol/m2, p<0.02), and in relation to glucose (175 (26) versus 57 (5) pmol/min/m2, p<0.02). In particular, the β cell dose-response function was shifted upward compared with controls. The sensitivity of insulin secretion to the rate of glucose change was also increased. Insulin sensitivity, markedly reduced in cirrhosis (157 (10) versus 296 (30) ml/min/m2, p<0.002), was strongly inversely correlated (r=0.89, p<0.002) in these patients with insulin secretion at 5 mM glucose. Insulin clearance and hepatic insulin extraction were not reduced. A frank hypermetabolism with increased lipid oxidation was found in this series.
Conclusions: This study suggests that hyperinsulinaemia, at least in Child’s disease grade B cirrhotic patients, is the consequence of increased β cell sensitivity to glucose, while hepatic insulin extraction does not seem to play a significant part.
PMCID: PMC1773476  PMID: 12427792
insulin secretion; insulin clearance; insulin sensitivity; C peptide deconvolution; mathematical model
7.  Is coeliac disease a confounding factor in the diagnosis of NASH? 
Gut  2001;49(4):596.
PMCID: PMC1728483  PMID: 11589191
8.  Impact of interferon therapy on the natural history of hepatitis C virus related cirrhosis 
Gut  2001;48(6):843-848.
BACKGROUND—The role of interferon treatment on the natural history of hepatitis C virus related cirrhosis is under debate.
AIM—To evaluate the effect of interferon on the clinical course of compensated hepatitis C virus related cirrhosis.
PATIENTS AND METHODS—Seventy two cirrhotic patients treated with interferon and 72 untreated controls matched treated patients with for quinquennia of age, sex, and Child-Pugh's score were enrolled in a prospective non-randomised controlled trial. Treated patients received leucocytic interferon alfa, with an escalating schedule for 12 months. The incidence and risk (Cox regression analysis) of clinical complications (hepatocellular carcinoma, ascites, jaundice, variceal bleeding, and encephalopathy) and death were calculated.
RESULTS—Over median follow up periods of 55 months for treated and 58 for untreated subjects, seven and nine patients, respectively, died, and 20 and 32, respectively, developed at least one clinical complication (ns). Hepatocellular carcinoma developed in six treated and 19 untreated patients (p=0.018). Seven treated patients showed sustained aminotranferase normalisation and none died or developed complications. Clinical complications were significantly associated with low albumin, bilirubin, and prothrombin activity while hepatocellular carcinoma was significantly related to no treatment with interferon, oesophageal varices, and high α fetoprotein levels. By stratified analysis, the beneficial effect of interferon was statistically evident only in patients with baseline α fetoprotein levels ⩾20 ng/ml.
CONCLUSIONS—Interferon does not seem to affect overall or event free survival of patients with hepatitis C virus related cirrhosis while it seems to prevent the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. Patients who achieved sustained aminotransferase normalisation survived and did not develop any complications during follow up.

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma; cirrhosis; hepatitis C virus; interferon alfa
PMCID: PMC1728334  PMID: 11358906
9.  Sporadic HEV hepatitis in Italy 
Gut  2001;48(4):580.
PMCID: PMC1728220  PMID: 11288737
10.  Severe imbalance of cell proliferation and apoptosis in the left colon and in the rectosigmoid tract in subjects with a history of large adenomas 
Gut  2001;48(2):238-246.
BACKGROUND—Alterations in epithelial proliferation and apoptosis in colonic mucosa are associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. It is unclear if these alterations represent a generalised "field defect".
AIMS—To analyse segmental patterns of cell proliferation and apoptosis in the colon of subjects with a high and no apparent risk of colon cancer.
METHODS—Pancolonoscopy was performed in 15 patients with resected adenomas (⩾1.5 cm) and in nine subjects without an apparent risk of colorectal cancer. Mucosal biopsies were taken from the right colon, left colon, and sigmoid rectum. Crypt cell proliferation and apoptosis were evaluated, respectively, with bromodeoxyuridine immunohistochemistry and terminal deoxyuridine nucleotidyl nick end labelling of DNA strand breaks. Results are expressed as total labelling index (TLI) and labelling index (LI) for each of the five compartments in which colonic crypts were divided (fourth and fifth compartments were evaluated together) for cell proliferation and as apoptotic index (AI) for apoptosis assessment.
RESULTS—No significant segmental variations in proliferation were found in either group. Compared with controls, adenoma patients had higher TLIs for the right (p>0.05), left (p<0.005), and sigmoid rectum (p<0.05) segments, and higher left colon LIs for crypt compartments (compartment 1, p<0.01; compartment 2, p<0.005; compartment 3, p<0.001; compartments 4-5, p<0.01). Control AIs were similar in all segments but in the adenoma patients left colon and sigmoid rectum AIs were lower than their right colon indexes (p<0.05, p<0.05) and corresponding values for controls (p<0.01, p<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS—The colonic mucosa of patients with past adenomas presents diffuse hyperproliferation and, distally, abnormally distributed proliferating cells and markedly reduced apoptosis. These changes represent a significant risk for malignancies and could account for the high prevalence of left colon tumours.

Keywords: cell proliferation; apoptosis; colon cancer risk
PMCID: PMC1728212  PMID: 11156647
12.  Is there any relationship between IEL and lymphoid follicles in the gastric mucosa? 
Gut  2000;47(2):314-315.
PMCID: PMC1728000  PMID: 10960280
13.  Helicobacter pylori infection and autoimmune pathogenesis of gastric neoplasias 
Gut  2000;46(2):295.
PMCID: PMC1727800  PMID: 10712082
16.  Impaired splenic function and tuftsin deficiency in patients with intestinal failure on long term intravenous nutrition 
Gut  1998;43(6):759-762.
Background—Reticuloendothelial system function is impaired in humans receiving lipid regimens. 
Aims—To evaluate the effects of long term administration of long chain triglyceride emulsions on reticuloendothelial system function. 
Methods—Splenic function and tuftsin activity were measured in 20 patients on intravenous nutrition for intestinal failure, 20 patients with Crohn's disease who were not receiving intravenous nutrition, and 50 healthy controls. 
Results—Pitted red cells counts in patients on intravenous nutrition (8.0%) were significantly higher (p<0.001) than in healthy controls (0.6%) and in patients with Crohn's disease (0.9%). No difference was found between healthy controls and patients with Crohn's disease. There was a correlation (r=0.50; p<0.03) between percentage of pitted red cells and duration of intravenous nutrition. Tuftsin activity was significantly reduced in the intravenous nutrition patient group (6%) compared with both disease controls (16.5%, p<0.01) and healthy volunteers (17.8%, p<0.001) . An inverse correlation between tuftsin activity and pitted red cell percentage was found in the patients on intravenous nutrition (rs =−0.44, p<0.05). No relation was found in the patients on intravenous nutrition between pitted red cell percentage or tuftsin activity and type of disease, percentage of ideal body weight, residual length of small intestine, or administration (quantity and frequency) of lipid emulsion. Eight patients on intravenous nutrition had serious infections within the previous 12months. 
Conclusions—Patients with a short bowel treated with long term intravenous nutrition have impaired splenic function, reduced tuftsin activity, and an increased risk of infection. 

Keywords: splenic function; hyposplenism; tuftsin; home parenteral nutrition; short bowel syndrome
PMCID: PMC1727358  PMID: 9824601
20.  Endothelin-1 in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  1995;48(4):330-334.
AIMS--To evaluate whether endothelin-1 is involved in the pathology of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). METHODS--Plasma endothelin-1 concentrations were evaluated in 37 patients with IPF and 27 normal controls by radioimmunoassay. In addition, expression of endothelin-1 in lung tissue was evaluated in biopsy specimens obtained from four patients with IPF. Three biopsy specimens of normal lung were used as controls. Endothelin-1 immunoreactivity was detected using immunohistochemistry. RESULTS--Elevated endothelin-1 plasma concentrations were found in patients with IPF compared with controls and a positive correlation was found with duration of disease. No significant difference was observed between treated and untreated patients with IPF. Increased endothelin-1 immunoreactivity was found in lungs of three of four patients with IPF. Endothelin-1 positive consisted mainly of small vessel endothelial cells. Some scattered macrophages were also positive. CONCLUSIONS--Elevated plasma concentrations and expression of endothelin-1 in lung tissue are suggestive of increased production of endothelin-1 in at least a proportion of patients with IPF. Consequently, endothelin-1 activity could play a role in the fibrogenic process of the disease.
PMCID: PMC502551  PMID: 7615852
22.  Doppler ultrasonographic evaluation of splanchnic blood flow in coeliac disease. 
Gut  1996;39(3):369-373.
BACKGROUND: Current knowledge on splanchnic haemodynamics in coeliac disease is limited and incomplete. AIM: To evaluate splanchnic arterial and venous blood flow in coeliac disease. METHODS: In 22 coeliac (13 untreated, nine treated) patients and in nine healthy subjects the following variables were assessed: vessel diameter and mean flow velocity in portal vein, splenic vein, superior mesenteric vein, and superior mesenteric artery. Peak systolic velocity, end diastolic velocity and pulsatility index were also determined in the superior mesenteric artery. Five patients of the untreated group were re-evaluated after nine months on a gluten free diet. RESULTS: Significant differences in haemodynamic variables between the three groups were shown only in the superior mesenteric artery. An increase in both mean flow velocity and end diastolic velocity and a reduction in pulsatility index occurred in untreated patients compared with treated patients (p < 0.002; p < 0.04; p < 0.035) and with healthy controls (p < 0.001; p < 0.025; p < 0.0003). Similar results were obtained for the five patients evaluated before and after treatment (p < 0.03; p < 0.02; p < 0.03), in whom the mean flow velocity in the superior mesenteric vein also decreased after treatment (p < 0.05). No significant differences were noted between treated coeliac patients and healthy controls. CONCLUSIONS: In untreated coeliac disease there is a hyperdynamic mesenteric circulation that decreases after treatment.
PMCID: PMC1383341  PMID: 8949639
24.  The effect of family size on estimates of the frequency of hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer. 
British Journal of Cancer  1995;72(5):1320-1323.
Diagnosis of hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) is currently based on phenotypical analysis of an expanded pedigree. Diagnostic guidelines ('Amsterdam criteria') proposed by the International Collaborative Group on HNPCC are often too stringent for use with small families. There is also the possibility of false-positive diagnosis in large pedigrees that may contain chance clusters of tumours. This study was conducted to determine the effect of family size on the probability of diagnosing HNPCC according to the Amsterdam criteria. A total of 1052 patients with colorectal cancer were classified as HNPCC or non-HNPCC according to the Amsterdam criteria. Associations between this diagnosis and the size of the first-degree pedigree were evaluated in logistic regression and linear discriminant analyses. Logistic regression showed a significant association for family size with the Amsterdam-criteria-based HNPCC diagnosis. Linear discriminant analysis showed that HNPCC diagnosis was most likely to occur when first-degree pedigrees contained more than seven relatives. Failure to consider family size in phenotypic diagnosis of HNPCC can lead to both under- and overestimation of the frequency of this disease. Small pedigrees must be expanded to reliably exclude HNPCC. Positive diagnoses based on assessment of eight or more first-degree relatives should be supported by other clinical features.
PMCID: PMC2033924  PMID: 7577490
25.  A population based study of Helicobacter pylori infection in a European country: the San Marino Study. Relations with gastrointestinal diseases. 
Gut  1995;36(6):838-844.
Helicobacter pylori is present worldwide but few large population studies exist on the epidemiology of the infection. A random cross sectional study was performed of H pylori infection in the adult population of San Marino, a European country with high gastric cancer rate, to assess its prevalence and to evaluate its relations with gastrointestinal disease. In 2237 subjects (77% of the initial sample) H pylori IgG antibodies were detected with enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and immunoblotting. A questionnaire including questions about occupation, place of birth, and smoking was given to all subjects. Dyspepsia, peptic ulcer, and gastric cancer in the subjects, relatives, and partners as well as use of drug, dental treatment/prostheses, and gastrointestinal endoscopies, were evaluated by multivariate analysis. H pylori prevalence was of 51%, increased with age from 23% (20-29 years) to 68% (> or = 70 years), and was higher among manual workers. H pylori was independently associated with ulcer (OR = 1.63, 95% confidence intervals (CI) = 1.16 to 2.27), H2 antagonists (OR = 1.94, 95% CI = 1.21 to 3.10), and benzodiazepines (OR = 1.57, 95% CI = 1.02 to 2.42), dental prostheses (OR = 1.25, 95% CI = 1.05 to 1.49), gastroscopy in the past five years (OR = 1.50, 95% CI = 1.05 to 2.14), peptic ulcer in siblings (OR = 1.52, 95% CI = 1.09 to 2.12), gastric cancer in father (OR = 1.61, 95% CI = 1.02 to 2.52). The association of seropositivity with history of ulcer, gastric cancer in family, gastroscopy, and H2 antagonists suggests that H pylori is an epidemiological key factor in the pathogenesis of gastroduodenal diseases in this area.
PMCID: PMC1382619  PMID: 7615270

Results 1-25 (46)