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1.  Characterization and prognosis of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in the non-cirrhotic liver 
BMC Gastroenterology  2014;14:117.
HCC predominantly develops in the condition of chronic inflammation that has led to liver cirrhosis. A small proportion of patients with HCC is diagnosed in the non-cirrhotic liver (NCL). Data on patients with HCC in NCL in advanced stages are scarce.
A retrospective analysis was performed comparing 93 patients with HCC in NCL to 571 patients with HCC in liver cirrhosis (LC) with respect to clinical and demographic characteristics. Also factors influencing survival in patients with HCC in NCL were analyzed.
Patients with HCC in NCL were diagnosed at older age and in more advanced tumor stages than patients with LC. More than 25% of patients with HCC in NCL presented with extrahepatic metastases. Only a minority of patients with HCC in NCL lacked any sign of hepatic damage. Risk factors for LC and risk factors for NAFLD are present in the majority of patients with HCC in NCL. The BCLC classification corresponded with the survival of patients with HCC in NCL although the therapeutic options differ from those for patients with liver cirrhosis.
It will be one of the major challenges in the future to awake awareness of carrying a risk of hepatic malignancies in patients with chronic liver diseases apart from liver cirrhosis, especially in NAFLD. Surveillance programs need to be implemented if these are cost-effective.
PMCID: PMC4098694  PMID: 24990270
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Prognosis; Liver cirrhosis; Non-cirrhotic liver; NAFLD
2.  GERD assessment including pH metry predicts a high response rate to PPI standard therapy 
BMC Gastroenterology  2013;13:12.
Inadequate response to proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is reported in up to 40%. Patients with non erosive reflux disease (NERD) have lower response rates compared to patients with erosive reflux disease (ERD); pH metry contributes to GERD diagnosis and is critical for proper diagnosis of NERD.
Aim of the study was to assess the need for doubling esomeprazole standard dose (40 mg) for 4 weeks in PPI naive patients with typical reflux symptoms and diagnosis of GERD based on endoscopy and 48 hours, wireless pH metry.
All patients underwent upper GI endoscopy. Symptoms were recorded with a structured questionnaire (RDQ) and acid exposure was determined by 48 hours, wireless pH monitoring (BRAVO). In case of abnormal acid exposure, patients received a short term treatment with esomeprazole 40 mg q.d. for 4 weeks. If symptoms persisted, patients underwent a second pH metry on PPI and the dose was increased to 40 mg b.i.d.
31 consecutive patients with typical reflux symptoms underwent 48 hours pH monitoring. 22 patients (71%) had abnormal acid exposure, 9 patients had normal pH metry (29%). Of the 9 patients with normal pH metry, 2 were found with erosive esophagitis and 7 without endoscopic abnormalities.
24 patients with documented GERD received esomeprazole treatment. 21 patients achieved complete symptom resolution with 40 mg q.d. after 4 weeks (88%). Only 2 patients required doubling the dose of esomeprazole for complete symptom resolution, 1 patient remained with symptoms.
Patients with typical reflux symptoms and abnormal acid exposure have a high response rate to standard dose esomeprazole regardless of whether they have ERD or NERD.
PMCID: PMC3562521  PMID: 23324360
GERD; NERD; PPI; Esomeprazole; Treatment; ph metry; Diagnosis; Therapy
3.  A prospective longitudinal cohort study: evolution of GERD symptoms during the course of pregnancy 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:131.
Symptoms of gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) in pregnancy are reported with a prevalence of 30–80%. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and severity of GERD symptoms during the course of pregnancy. Furthermore current practice in medical care for GERD during pregnancy was assessed.
We performed a prospective longitudinal cohort study on 510 pregnant women (mean age 28.12, SD 5.3). Investigations for reflux symptoms where based on the use of validated reflux-disease questionnaire (RDQ). Additional information was collected about the therapy. A group of non-pregnant women (mean age 24.56, SD 5.7) was included as controls. Frequency and severity of reflux symptoms were recorded in each trimester of pregnancy.
The prevalence of GERD symptoms in pregnant women increased from the first trimester with 26.1 to 36.1% in the second trimester and to 51.2% in the third trimester of pregnancy. The prevalence of GERD symptoms in the control group was 9.3%.
Pregnant women received medication for their GERD symptoms in 12.8% during the first, 9.1% during the second and 15.7% during the third trimester. Medications used >90% antacids, 0% PPI.
GERD symptoms occur more often in pregnant women than in non-pregnant and the frequency rises in the course of pregnancy. Medical therapy is used in a minority of cases and often with no adequate symptom relief.
PMCID: PMC3499455  PMID: 23006768
Gastro-esophageal reflux disease; Pregnancy; Heartburn; Regurgitation; GERD symptoms
4.  Role of tight junction proteins in gastroesophageal reflux disease 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:128.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is associated with impaired epithelial barrier function that is regulated by cell-cell contacts. The aim of the study was to investigate the expression pattern of selected components involved in the formation of tight junctions in relation to GERD.
Eighty-four patients with GERD-related symptoms with endoscopic signs (erosive: n = 47) or without them (non-erosive: n = 37) as well as 26 patients lacking GERD-specific symptoms as controls were included. Endoscopic and histological characterization of esophagitis was performed according to the Los Angeles and adapted Ismeil-Beigi criteria, respectively. Mucosal biopsies from distal esophagus were taken for analysis by histopathology, immunohistochemistry and quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) of five genes encoding tight junction components [Occludin, Claudin-1, -2, Zona occludens (ZO-1, -2)].
Histopathology confirmed GERD-specific alterations as dilated intercellular spaces in the esophageal mucosa of patients with GERD compared to controls (P < 0.05). Claudin-1 and −2 were 2- to 6-fold upregulation on transcript (P < 0.01) and in part on protein level (P < 0.015) in GERD, while subgroup analysis of revealed this upregulation for ERD only. In both erosive and non-erosive reflux disease, expression levels of Occludin and ZO-1,-2 were not significantly affected. Notably, the induced expression of both claudins did not correlate with histopathological parameters (basal cell hyperplasia, dilated intercellular spaces) in patients with GERD.
Taken together, the missing correlation between the expression of tight junction-related components and histomorphological GERD-specific alterations does not support a major role of the five proteins studied in the pathogenesis of GERD.
PMCID: PMC3503771  PMID: 22994974
Gastroesophageal reflux disease; Tight junction; Claudins; Esophagitis; Inflammation
5.  Pancreatic-specific autoantibodies to glycoprotein 2 mirror disease location and behaviour in younger patients with Crohn’s disease 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:102.
Glycoprotein 2 (GP2) was discovered as the major autoantigen of Crohn’s disease (CD)-specific pancreatic autoantibodies (PAB). We investigated anti-GP2 IgA and IgG antibodies as novel serological parameters in CD and assessed their association with distinct disease phenotypes.
Anti-GP2 and anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae (ASCA) IgA and IgG were detected by ELISA employing recombinant human GP2 and phosphopeptidomannan, respectively and PAB by indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) in 271 sera, 169 with CD and 102 with ulcerative colitis (UC). As healthy controls 160 adult blood donors and 65 children were included.
Anti-GP2 IgG and/or IgA were more prevalent in CD (51/169, 30.2%) than in UC (9/102, 8.9%) patients and in controls (9/225, 4%) (p < 0.001 respectively). ASCA IgG and/or IgA were present in 60/169 (35.5%) in CD and in 7/102 (6.9%) in UC patients (p < 0.001). CD patients with ileocolonic location (L3) showed a significantly higher prevalence of anti-GP2 and ASCA IgA and/or IgG (40/113 and 48/113, respectively; p < 0.05 for both comparisons), whereas CD patients with colonic location (L2) revealed a significantly diminished prevalence for these autoantibody specificities (2/32 and 5/32, respectively, p < 0.05 for both). Anti-GP2 IgG were significantly more prevalent in CD patients with stricturing behaviour (B2) and perianal disease (7/11, p < 0.02) and less prevalent in those with penetrating behaviour (B3) and perianal disease (4/31, p < 0.05). The occurrence of anti-GP2 IgA and/or IgG was significantly more prevalent in CD patients with age at diagnosis of ≤16 years (16/31, p < 0.009). Prevalence of one or more anti-GP2 or ASCA IgA and/or IgG was significantly higher in L3, B2, and A1 and lower in L2 (68/113, 27/41, 23/31, 6/32; p < 0.04, respectively).
Anti-GP2 IgG and IgA, constituting novel CD specific autoantibodies, appear to be associated with distinct disease phenotypes identifying patients at a younger age, with ileocolonic location, and stricturing behaviour with perianal disease.
PMCID: PMC3449192  PMID: 22866900
Autoantibody; Autoantigen; Autoimmunity; Crohn’s disease; Gastroenterology; Glycoprotein 2; Inflammatory bowel disease
6.  Serological assessment of gastric mucosal atrophy in gastric cancer 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:10.
Non-invasive tools for gastric cancer screening and diagnosis are lacking. Serological testing with the detection of pepsinogen 1 (PG1), pepsinogen 2 (PG2) and gastrin 17 (G17) offers the possibility to detect preneoplastic gastric mucosal conditions. Aim of this study was to assess the performance of these serological tests in the presence of gastric neoplasia.
Histological and serological samples of 118 patients with gastric cancer have been assessed for tumor specific characteristics (Laurén type, localisation), degree of mucosal abnormalities (intestinal metaplasia, atrophy) and serological parameters (PG1, PG2, PG1/2-ratio, G17, H. pylori IgG, CagA status). Association of the general factors to the different serological values have been statistically analyzed.
Patients with intestinal type gastric cancer had lower PG1 levels and a lower PG1/2-ratio compared to those with diffuse type cancer (p = 0.003). The serum levels of PG2 itself and G17 were not significantly altered. H. pylori infection in general had no influence on the levels of PG1, PG2 and G17 in the serum of gastric cancer patients. There was a trend towards lower PG1 levels in case of positive CagA-status (p = 0.058). The degree of both intestinal metaplasia and atrophy correlated inversely with serum levels for PG1 and the PG1/2-ratio (p < 0.01). Laurén-specific analysis revealed that this is only true for intestinal type tumors. Univariate ANOVA revealed atrophy and CagA-status as the only independent factors for low PG1 and a low PG1/2-ratio.
Glandular atrophy and a positive CagA status are determinant factors for decreased pepsinogen 1 levels in the serum of patients with gastric cancer. The serological assessment of gastric atrophy by analysis of serum pepsinogen is only adequate for patients with intestinal type cancer.
PMCID: PMC3280182  PMID: 22289789
Gastric cancer; Helicobacter pylori; intestinal metaplasia; glandular atrophy; gastrin; pepsinogen; cardia cancer
7.  Mucosal Progranulin expression is induced by H. pylori, but independent of Secretory Leukocyte Protease Inhibitor (SLPI) expression 
BMC Gastroenterology  2011;11:63.
Mucosal levels of Secretory Leukocyte Protease Inhibitor (SLPI) are specifically reduced in relation to H. pylori-induced gastritis. Progranulin is an epithelial growth factor that is proteolytically degraded into fragments by elastase (the main target of SLPI). Considering the role of SLPI for regulating the activity of elastase, we studied whether the H. pylori-induced reduction of SLPI and the resulting increase of elastase-derived activity would reduce the Progranulin protein levels both ex vivo and in vitro.
The expression of Progranulin was studied in biopsies of H. pylori-positive, -negative and -eradicated subjects as well as in the gastric tumor cell line AGS by ELISA, immunohistochemistry and real-time RT-PCR.
H. pylori-infected subjects had about 2-fold increased antral Progranulin expression compared to H. pylori-negative and -eradicated subjects (P < 0.05). Overall, no correlations between mucosal Progranulin and SLPI levels were identified. Immunohistochemical analysis confirmed the upregulation of Progranulin in relation to H. pylori infection; both epithelial and infiltrating immune cells contributed to the higher Progranulin expression levels. The H. pylori-induced upregulation of Progranulin was verified in AGS cells infected by H. pylori. The down-regulation of endogenous SLPI expression in AGS cells by siRNA methodology did not affect the Progranulin expression independent of the infection by H. pylori.
Taken together, Progranulin was identified as novel molecule that is upregulated in context to H. pylori infection. In contrast to other diseases, SLPI seems not to have a regulatory role for Progranulin in H. pylori-mediated gastritis.
PMCID: PMC3115905  PMID: 21612671
8.  A proposal for a new clinical classification of chronic pancreatitis 
BMC Gastroenterology  2009;9:93.
The clinical course of chronic pancreatitis is still unpredictable, which relates to the lack of the availability of a clinical classification. Therefore, patient populations cannot be compared, the course and the outcome of the disease remain undetermined in the individual patient, and treatment is not standardized.
To establish a clinical classification for chronic pancreatitis which is user friendly, transparent, relevant, prognosis- as well as treatment-related and offers a frame for future disease evaluation.
Diagnostic requirements will include one clinical criterion, in combination with well defined imaging or functional abnormalities.
A classification system consisting of three stages (A, B and C) is presented, which fulfils the above-mentioned criteria. Clinical criteria are: pain, recurrent attacks of pancreatitis, complications of chronic pancreatitis (e.g. bile duct stenosis), steatorrhea, and diabetes mellitus. Imaging criteria consist of ductal or parenchymal changes observed by ultrasonography, ERCP, CT, MRI, and/or endosonography.
A new classification of chronic pancreatitis, based on combination of clinical signs, morphology and function, is presented. It is easy to handle and an instrument to study and to compare the natural course, the prognosis and treatment of patients with chronic pancreatitis.
PMCID: PMC2804657  PMID: 20003450
9.  Efficacy of a 7-day course of furazolidone, levofloxacin, and lansoprazole after failed Helicobacter pylori eradication 
BMC Gastroenterology  2009;9:38.
Increasing resistance to clarithromycin and nitroimidazole is the main cause of failure in the Helicobacter pylori eradication. The ideal retreatment regimen remains unclear, especially in developing countries, where the infection presents high prevalence and resistance to antibiotics. The study aimed at determining the efficacy, compliance and adverse effects of a regimen that included furazolidone, levofloxacin and lansoprazole in patients with persistent Helicobacter pylori infection, who had failed to respond to at least one prior eradication treatment regimen.
This study included 48 patients with peptic ulcer disease. Helicobacter pylori infection was confirmed by a rapid urease test and histological examination of samples obtained from the antrum and corpus during endoscopy. The eradication therapy consisted of a 7-day twice daily oral administration of lansoprazole 30 mg, furazolidone 200 mg and levofloxacin 250 mg. Therapeutic success was confirmed by a negative rapid urease test, histological examination and 14C- urea breath test, performed 12 weeks after treatment completion. The Chi-square method was used for comparisons among eradication rates, previous treatments and previous furazolidone use.
Only one of the 48 patients failed to take all medications, which was due to adverse effects (vomiting). Per-protocol and intention-to-treat eradication rates were 89% (95% CI- 89%–99%) and 88% (88–92%), respectively. Mild and moderate adverse effects were reported by 41 patients (85%). For patients with one previous treatment failure, the eradication rate was 100%. Compared to furazolidone-naïve patients, eradication rates were lower in those who had failed prior furazolidone-containing regimen(s) (74% vs. 100%, p = 0.002).
An empiric salvage-regimen including levofloxacin, furazolidone and lansoprazole is very effective in the eradication of Helicobacter pylori, particularly in patients that have failed one prior eradication therapy.
PMCID: PMC2695477  PMID: 19470177

Results 1-9 (9)