Cost effectiveness of treatment for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease in clinical practice: a clinical database analysis.
Eggleston A. Wigerinck A. Huijghebaert S. Dubois D. Haycox A.
Janssen Research Foundation, Beerse, Belgium.
BACKGROUND: Previous evaluation of the cost effectiveness of antireflux medication used in gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) have been based on results obtained in controlled clinical trials. Unfortunately such an approach does not necessarily identify the therapeutic option which provides the greatest benefit from available resources in real life situations. To make an informed choice requires a recognition that the costs and benefits of therapy in practice may differ from those identified in trials. AIMS: To evaluate, based on a retrospective prescription database analysis, the cost effectiveness of alternative treatment options for patients with uncomplicated GORD. The analysis assesses health service resource use during the first six months of treatment in three groups of patients initially prescribed cisapride (CIS), ranitidine (RAN), or omeprazole (OME). METHODS: The MediPlus UK database was used to identify all health care resources consumed by patients in the three treatment groups during their first six months of treatment. Patients with more complicated GORD, as indicated by initial referral to a specialist or outpatient hospital visit (< 13%), were excluded from the analysis. RESULTS: The average cost per patient for the initial six months of treatment for CIS, RAN, and OME based therapies was 136 Pounds, 177 Pounds, 189 Pounds per patient, respectively. A major element underlying this cost variation was the acquisition cost and quantity of antireflux medication required by patients. The average number of one month equivalent prescriptions consumed during this six month period was 1.85 (CIS), 2.57 (RAN), and 2.96 (OME) with associated costs of 49 Pounds (CIS), 67 Pounds (RAN), and 105 Pounds (OME). Antacid and alginate/antacid use was higher in the CIS and RAN groups (about 1.0 antacid prescription per patient versus 0.4 for OME), but their contribution to the total cost per patient was less than 2%. The number of general practitioner consultations over the six month period for each treatment group was 2.4 (CIS), 2.9 (RAN), and 2.6 (OME) with associated costs of 60.31 Pounds (CIS), 73.06 Pounds (RAN), and 65.52 Pounds (OME). The average number of non-drug interventions (referrals, outpatient visits, endoscopies, barium meals, or x rays) was 0.34 in the RAN group compared with less than 0.2 in the CIS and OME groups. The costs associated with such interventions were 23.80 Pounds (RAN), 9.60 Pounds (CIS), and 11.10 Pounds (OME) per patient. CONCLUSION: The data indicate that the "step up" approach, starting with a prokinetic or H2 receptor antagonist, represents the most cost effective initial therapeutic strategy for a primary care physician to adopt when faced with a patient with first diagnosis of uncomplicated GORD.
A prospective randomised controlled study of the use of ranitidine in patients with gastric cancer. Yorkshire GI Tumour Group.
Primrose JN. Miller GV. Preston SR. Gokhale J. Ambrose NS. Ward UM. Mills JG. Ehsanullah RS. Darekar B.
St James's University Hospital, Leeds, UK.
BACKGROUND: Does the use of the histamine H2 receptor antagonist ranitidine improve the outcome of patients with gastric cancer? PATIENTS: A total of 222 patients with gastric cancer who had received radical or palliative resection or who were deemed inoperable at presentation. SETTING: Hospitals within Yorkshire, the participating clinicians being members of the Yorkshire GI Tumour Group. METHODS: A multicentre prospective randomised double blind trial comparing ranitidine 150 mg twice daily with placebo twice daily was undertaken. The principal outcome measures were survival and survival excluding those who died within 30 days of operation. RESULTS: The median survival (95% confidence intervals) was 331 (232 to 393) days for patients in the ranitidine group compared with 187 (143 to 269) for those in the placebo group. The difference in survival was not statistically significant (p = 0.225). When patients who died within 30 days of operation were excluded (21 in the placebo group, 15 in the ranitidine group), the difference in survival remained not significant (p = 0.358). No subgroup could be identified who significantly benefited from treatment, but for patients with stage VIa cancer the median survival was 134 days with placebo compared with 313 days with ranitidine (p = 0.073). CONCLUSION: This study does not show significant benefit from the use of ranitidine for gastric cancer but further larger studies may be indicated.
Helicobacter pylori infection in patients with early gastric cancer by the endoscopic phenol red test.
Iseki K. Tatsuta M. Iishi H. Baba M. Ishiguro S.
Department of Gastroenterology, Osaka Medical Centre for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases, Japan.
BACKGROUND: An endoscopic procedure that uses a pH indicator called phenol red to assess Helicobacter pylori infected gastric mucosa has recently been developed. This test makes it possible to take biopsy specimens from H pylori infected areas. AIM: This test was applied to patients with early gastric cancers to clarify the role of H pylori in gastric carcinogenesis. SUBJECTS: Sixty five patients with early gastric cancer (50 with differentiated adenocarcinoma and 15 with undifferentiated adenocarcinoma). METHODS: Patients with early gastric cancer underwent the endoscopic phenol red test before their operation. In this test, areas infected with H pylori can be observed as "coloured" areas where phenol red was turned from yellow to red. RESULTS: H pylori infection was significantly (p < 0.001) more frequent in patients with differentiated adenocarcinomas than in those with undifferentiated adenocarcinomas. Differentiated adenocarcinomas were usually located in areas of mucosa infected with H pylori, but undifferentiated adenocarcinomas were frequently located in non-infected areas. CONCLUSION: H pylori may be a strong risk factor for differentiated early gastric cancer.
Postprandial plasma 5-hydroxytryptamine in diarrhoea predominant irritable bowel syndrome: a pilot study.
Bearcroft CP. Perrett D. Farthing MJ.
Digestive Diseases Research Centre, London, UK.
BACKGROUND: Increased concentrations of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) can be detected in the systemic circulation after a meal and may be involved in the physiological control of gastrointestinal motility. Abnormalities of 5-HT release after a meal might explain some of the postprandial symptoms associated with the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). AIM: To investigate the effect of a standard meal on plasma 5-HT and urinary 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid (5-HIAA) concentrations in patients with diarrhoea predominant IBS and in healthy volunteers. METHODS: After an overnight fast, six volunteers and five patients with IBS were given a carbohydrate-rich meal. Blood and urine samples were taken before and for four hours after the meal. Platelet-poor plasma 5-HT and urinary 5-HIAA were analysed by reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography with fluorometric detection. 5-HIAA was expressed as a ratio with urinary creatinine concentration, which was measured by spectrophotometry. RESULTS: During the four hour postprandial period, 5-HT concentrations were significantly higher in patients with IBS than in healthy volunteers at 0.5 hours (p < 0.05), 2 hours (p < 0.05) and 2.5 hours (p < 0.05). 5-HT was not detected in the plasma in the fasting state in patients or volunteers. Median peak 5-HT in patients with IBS (359 (198-796) nmol/l) was significantly greater than volunteers (83 (7-190)) (p < 0.05). "Area under the curve" for 5-HT detection was greater for patients with IBS (317 (138-771)) than for healthy volunteers (51 (4-129); p < 0.05). The duration of the 5-HT peak was significantly longer in patients with IBS (3 (1-3) hours) than in the healthy volunteers (1 (1-1) hours; p < 0.01). Postprandial urinary median 5-HIAA values in controls (5.6 (5.5-5.8) mumol/mmol creatinine) and patients with IBS (3.0 (2.5-6.8) mumol/mmol creatinine) were not significantly different from preprandial values (controls: 5.9 (5.5-6.6) mumol/mmol creatinine; patients with IBS: (6.2 (2.4-9.3) mumol/mmol creatinine). CONCLUSION: These findings indicate that there may be a difference in the way that 5-HT is released in patients with diarrhoea predominant IBS, and could suggest a possible role for 5-HT in the postprandial symptoms of these patients.
Is the association between irritable bowel syndrome and abuse explained by neuroticism? A population based study.
Talley NJ. Boyce PM. Jones M.
Department of Medicine, University of Sydney, Nepean Hospital, Penrith, NSW, Australia.
BACKGROUND: In outpatients and the community, an association between abuse (particularly sexual abuse) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has been observed, but whether there is a causal link continues to be disputed. AIMS: To test the hypothesis that psychological factors explain the apparent association between abuse and IBS. METHODS: A sample of residents of Penrith (a Sydney suburb sociodemographically similar to the Australian population) selected randomly from the electoral rolls (that by law include the entire population of age 18 years and above) was mailed a validated self report questionnaire. Measured were gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms including the Rome criteria for IBS, abuse (including the standardised Drossman questions), neuroticism (Eysenck Personality Questionnaire), and psychological morbidity (General Health Questionnaire). RESULTS: The response rate was 64% (n = 730); 12% fulfilled the Rome criteria for IBS. Overall abuse in childhood (odds ratio (OR) = 2.02, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.29 to 3.15) but not adulthood (OR = 1.39, 95% CI 0.88 to 2.19) was associated with IBS univariately. Neuroticism and psychological morbidity were also univariately associated with abuse in childhood, abuse in adulthood and IBS, respectively. However, by logistic regression, abuse in childhood was not associated with IBS after controlling for age, gender, and psychological factors (OR = 1.34, 95% CI 0.83 to 2.17). The results were not altered by restricting the analyses to more severe forms of abuse, and were not explained by interactions between abuse and psychological variables. CONCLUSION: There is an association between abuse and IBS in the community, but this may be explained in part by other psychological factors. Based on a path analysis, we postulate that abuse may induce the expression of neuroticism that in turn leads to IBS.
Expression of a marker for colonic crypt base cells is correlated with poor prognosis in human colorectal cancer.
van der Wurff AA. ten Kate J. Marx PT. van der Linden EP. Beek CC. Bovelander FJ. Dekker J. Dinjens WN. von Meyenfeldt MF. Arends JW. Bosman FT.
Department of Pathology, Maastricht University Hospital, The Netherlands.
BACKGROUND: There is a need for markers in colorectal cancer which will allow subclassification of stage groups into subgroups with high versus low risk of recurrent disease. AIMS: To develop monoclonal antibodies that recognise antigens or immature crypt base cells, on the assumption that in a neoplasm undifferentiated but not the terminally differentiated cells will be responsible for tumour progression. METHODS: Colon crypt cells which were isolated from human colonic mucosa by EDTA/EGTA incubation were studied. By stepwise harvesting, crypt base cell enriched fractions were obtained, and after incubation with antibodies against dominant antigens, used as immunogens. RESULTS: Of one crypt base cell specific antibody (5E9), the reactive epitope appeared to be a non-terminal carbohydrate in the mucin O-glycans of the colon. The epitope did not seem to be colon specific, but was expressed in a variety of other tissues. In colorectal carcinomas, 5E9 immunoreactivity identified a subgroup of patients with a tendency for worse prognosis. CONCLUSION: A mucin associated maturation epitope was identified in colonic crypt base cells, the expression of which in Dukes' stage B3 colorectal carcinoma may be associated with poor prognosis.
Endoscopic screening of relatives of patients with colorectal cancer.
Hunt LM. Rooney PS. Hardcastle JD. Armitage NC.
Department of Surgery, University of Nottingham, Queens Medical Centre, UK.
BACKGROUND: The risk of colorectal cancer is higher among relatives of those affected. The neoplastic yield reported from screening such individuals varies enormously between studies and depends on the age and strength of the family history of those screened. AIMS: To ascertain the neoplastic yield of endoscopic screening of first degree relatives of patients with colorectal cancer by age and familial risk. SUBJECTS: A total of 330 individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer. METHOD: Endoscopic screening conducted according to a protocol. RESULTS: Adenomas were found in 12%, and adenomas larger than 1 cm in 8%, of "high risk" individuals screened primarily by colonoscopy. Of those with neoplasia, 26% had lesions at or proximal to the splenic flexure. Neoplasia was found in 9.5% of individuals at lower familial risk, screened primarily by 60 cm flexible sigmoidoscopy, 4% of whom had neoplasia larger than 1 cm in size or cancer. Neoplastic yield was greatest in the fourth and fifth decades in those at highest risk, but increased with age in those at lower risk. CONCLUSIONS: For individuals with two or more first degree relatives, or relatives who have developed colorectal cancer at a young age, colonoscopy appears to be the only satisfactory method of screening, but 60 cm flexible sigmoidoscopy may be useful in those at lower levels of risk.
Predictive factors for survival of patients with inoperable malignant distal biliary strictures: a practical management guideline.
Prat F. Chapat O. Ducot B. Ponchon T. Fritsch J. Choury AD. Pelletier G. Buffet C.
Service des Maladies du Foie et de l'Appareil Digestif, CHU de Bicetre, Le Kremlin-Bicetre, France.
BACKGROUND: Stenting is the treatment of choice for inoperable malignant strictures of the common bile duct. Criteria for the choice of stents (plastic versus metallic) remain controversial because predicting survival is difficult. AIMS: To define prognostic factors in order to improve the cost effectiveness of endoscopic palliation. PATIENTS: One hundred and one patients were included in a prospective trial. Seven prognostic variables for survival were analysed (age, sex, bilirubinaemia, weight loss, presence of liver metastases, and tumour histology and size). All patients were followed until death or at least one year after inclusion. By the end of the study, 81 (80.2%) patients had died. RESULTS: In univariate analysis, the variables associated with survival were weight loss (p < 0.05) and tumour size (p < 0.01). By multivariate analysis, tumour size was the only independent prognostic factor (p < 0.05). A threshold of 30 mm at diagnosis distinguished two survival profiles: the median survival of patients with a tumour greater than 30 mm was 3.2 months, whereas it was 6.6 months for patients with a tumour less than 30 mm (p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: A practical strategy could be based on tumour size at diagnosis: a metal stent should be systematically chosen for patients with an inoperable tumour smaller than 30 mm, while larger tumours are efficiently palliated by a plastic stent.
13C labelled cholesteryl octanoate breath test for assessing pancreatic exocrine insufficiency.
Ventrucci M. Cipolla A. Ubalducci GM. Roda A. Roda E.
Department of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, Sant'Orsola Hospital, University of Bologna, Italy.
BACKGROUND: A non-invasive test for assessment of fat digestion has been developed based on the intraluminal hydrolysis of cholesteryl-[1-13C]octanoate by pancreatic esterase. AIMS: To determine the diagnostic performance of this breath test in the assessment of exocrine pancreatic function. METHODS: The test was performed in 20 healthy controls, 22 patients with chronic pancreatic disease (CPD), four with biliopancreatic diversion (BPD), and 32 with non-pancreatic digestive diseases (NPD); results were compared with those of other tubeless tests (faecal chymotrypsin and fluorescein dilaurate test). RESULTS: Hourly recoveries of 13CO2 were significantly lower in CPD when compared with healthy controls or NPD. In patients with CPD with mild to moderate insufficiency, the curve of 13CO2 recovery was similar to that of healthy controls, while in those with severe insufficiency it was flat. In three patients with CPD with severe steatorrhoea, a repeat test after pancreatic enzyme supplementation showed a significant rise in 13CO2 recovery. The four BPD patients had low and delayed 13CO2 recovery. Only eight of the 32 patients with NPD had abnormal breath test results. There was a significant correlation between the results of the breath test and those of faecal chymotrypsin, the fluorescein dilaurate test, and faecal fat measurements. For the diagnosis of pancreatic disease using the three hour cumulative 13CO2 recovery test, the sensitivity was 68.2% and specificity 75.0%; values were similar to those of the other two tubeless pancreatic function tests. In seven healthy controls, nine patients with CPD, and nine with NPD a second breath test was performed using Na-[1-13C]octanoate and a pancreatic function index was calculated as the ratio of 13C recovery obtained in the two tests: at three hours this index was abnormal in eight patients with CPD and in three with NPD. CONCLUSION: The cholesteryl-1[1-13C]octanoate breath test can be useful for the diagnosis of fat malabsorption and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.
Beta human chorionic gonadotropin concentrations in serum of patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Syrigos KN. Fyssas I. Konstandoulakis MM. Harrington KJ. Papadopoulos S. Milingos N. Peveretos P. Golematis BC.
1st Department of Propaedeutic Surgery, Athens Medical School, Hippokration Hospital, Greece.
BACKGROUND: Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is normally produced and secreted by trophoblastic cells during pregnancy and from gestational trophoblastic neoplasms. It is also detected in ovarian, stomach, and colon adenocarcinomas, as well as in squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus. Recently, interest in its role in the pathogenesis of tumours has been enlivened after the presence of beta hCG in the cell membrane of several malignant cells was shown in vitro. AIMS: To investigate the circulating concentrations of beta hCG in patients with exocrine pancreatic adenocarcinoma and to examine its potential prognostic value. PATIENTS: Thirty six patients with exocrine pancreatic adenocarcinoma, 12 patients with chronic pancreatitis, and 21 healthy volunteers were studied. METHODS: beta hCG serum concentrations were detected by the application of a radioimmunoassay technique. RESULTS: Fifteen of 36 patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma and only one patient with chronic pancreatitis had detectable plasma concentrations of beta hCG (p < 0.01). The patients with circulating serum titres of beta hCG had a worse outcome compared with the group of beta hCG negative patients: the difference was statistically significant (p = 0.01). CONCLUSION: More than 40% of pancreatic exocrine tumours produce beta hCG and its production is correlated with an adverse effect on outcome.
Placebo controlled trial of enteric coated pancreatin microsphere treatment in patients with unresectable cancer of the pancreatic head region.
Bruno MJ. Haverkort EB. Tijssen GP. Tytgat GN. van Leeuwen DJ.
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
BACKGROUND: Impeded flow of pancreatic juice due to mechanical obstruction of the pancreatic duct in patients with cancer of the pancreatic head region causes exocrine pancreatic insufficiency with steatorrhoea and creatorrhoea. This may contribute to the profound weight loss that often occurs in these patients. AIMS: To investigate whether pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy prevents this weight loss. PATIENTS: Twenty one patients with unresectable cancer of the pancreatic head region with suspected pancreatic duct obstruction, a biliary endoprosthesis in situ, and a Karnofsky performance status greater than 60. METHODS: Randomised double blind trial of eight weeks with either placebo or high dose enteric coated pancreatin enzyme supplementation. All patients received dietary counselling. RESULTS: The mean difference in the percentage change of body weight was 4.9% (p = 0.02, 95% confidence interval for the difference: 0.9 to 8.9). Patients on pancreatic enzymes gained 1.2% (0.7 kg) body weight whereas patients on placebo lost 3.7% (2.2 kg). The fat absorption coefficient in patients on pancreatic enzymes improved by 12% whereas in placebo patients it dropped by 8% (p = 0.13, 95% confidence interval for the difference: -6 to 45). The daily total energy intake was 8.42 MJ in patients on pancreatic enzymes and 6.66 MJ in placebo patients (p = 0.04, 95% confidence interval for the difference: 0.08 to 3.44). CONCLUSIONS: Weight loss in patients with unresectable cancer of the pancreatic head region and occlusion of the pancreatic duct can be prevented, at least for the period immediately after insertion of a biliary endoprosthesis, by high dose enteric coated pancreatin enzyme supplementation in combination with dietary counselling.
Activation peptide of carboxypeptidase B in serum and urine in acute pancreatitis.
Appelros S. Thim L. Borgstrom A.
Department of Surgery, University Hospitals, Malmo, Sweden.
BACKGROUND: The pathophysiology of acute pancreatitis involves activation of the pancreatic proenzymes. Levels of the trypsinogen activation peptide in urine in acute pancreatitis has been shown to correlate with the severity of disease. However, this peptide is unstable in urine and, because of its low molecular mass, difficult to measure. Procarboxypeptidase B has a larger activation peptide which could be more suitable for analysis in serum and urine. AIMS: To study the presence of the activation peptide from procarboxypeptidase B (CAPAP) in serum and urine in acute pancreatitis. PATIENTS: Urine and serum samples were obtained within 48 hours of admittance from 40 patients with acute pancreatitis. Severity was classified retrospectively according to levels of C-reactive protein and clinical course. Thirty four patients with abdominal pain from other causes were studied as controls. METHODS: CAPAP was purified from human pancreatic juice. Specific antibodies were obtained and a radioimmunoassay was developed. RESULTS: Levels of CAPAP in serum and urine in acute pancreatitis correlate with the severity of the attack. CAPAP is very stable, and urine contains only CAPAP whereas, in serum, cross reacting procarboxypeptidase B is found together with CAPAP. CONCLUSIONS: CAPAP could be a valuable tool in the diagnosis and early determination of severity in acute pancreatitis.
Hepatic histology in hepatitis C virus carriers coinfected with hepatitis G virus.
Petrik J. Guella L. Wight DG. Pearson GM. Hinton J. Parker H. Allain JP. Alexander GJ.
Division of Transfusion Medicine, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Addenbrooke's NHS Trust, UK.
BACKGROUND: A novel flavivirus has been described recently and designated hepatitis G virus (HGV). The virus is transmitted by the parenteral route but it is uncertain whether it is associated with chronic liver disease because liver biopsy is difficult to justify in this group. AIMS: To examine histological features of liver biopsy in patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) according to the presence or absence of HCV and HGV RNA. METHODS: One hundred and thirty one consecutive HCV carriers undergoing staging liver biopsy were studied retrospectively. In each, HCV RNA and HGV RNA were detected by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction on serum samples collected at the time of biopsy. The presence of each RNA was correlated with histological features blind to the RNA results; individual histological features of inflammation or fibrosis were scored separately. RESULTS: Nineteen patients were positive for both HGV and HCV RNA in serum, 91 were positive for HCV RNA alone, two were positive for HGV RNA alone, and 19 were negative for both RNA species. Neither age nor sex differed between the groups; a greater proportion of intravenous drug users were HGV RNA positive, but this was not statistically significant. There was no effect of HGV coinfection on the stage of fibrosis or any other histological parameter except steatosis; patients with HCV and HGV RNA had a higher mean score for fat than those patients with HCV RNA alone (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: HGV coinfection has no important effects on histological features in chronic HCV carriers. It is unlikely that HGV infection causes chronic liver disease.
Hepatitis G virus infection in chronic liver disease.
Guilera M. Saiz JC. Lopez-Labrador FX. Olmedo E. Ampurdanes S. Forns X. Bruix J. Pares A. Sanchez-Tapias JM. Jimenez de Anta MT. Rodes J.
Department of Medicine, University of Barcelona Medical School, Spain.
BACKGROUND: The hepatitis G virus (HGV), a recently identified member of the Flaviviridae family, can cause chronic infection in man but the role of this agent in chronic liver disease is poorly understood. AIMS: To evaluate the prevalence and meaning of HGV infection in a large series of patients with chronic liver disease. SUBJECTS: Two hundred volunteer blood donors, 179 patients with chronic hepatitis C, 111 with chronic hepatitis B, 104 with alcoholic liver disease, 136 with hepatocellular carcinoma, and 24 with cryptogenic chronic liver disease were studied. METHODS: HGV RNA was investigated in serum samples by reverse transcription and polymerase chain reaction amplification of the 5' non-coding region of HCV and hybridisation to a specific probe. The main features of HGV RNA seropositive and seronegative patients were compared. RESULTS: The prevalence of HGV infection was 3% in blood donors, 7% in chronic hepatitis C, 8% in chronic hepatitis B, 2% in alcoholic liver disease, 4% in hepatocellular carcinoma, and 8% in cryptogenic chronic liver disease. HGV infected patients tended to be younger than non-infected patients but no differences concerning sex, possible source of infection, clinical manifestations, biochemical and virological parameters, or severity of liver lesions were found. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of HGV infection in chronic liver disease seems to be relatively low in our area. Infection with HGV does not seem to play a significant pathogenic role in patients with chronic liver disease related to chronic HBV or HCV infection or to increased alcohol consumption, or in those with cryptogenic chronic liver disease.
Treatment of enteritis in chronic granulomatous disease with granulocyte colony stimulating factor.
Myrup B. Valerius NH. Mortensen PB.
Department of Medicine A, Rigshospitalet, Denmark.
BACKGROUND: In several diseases there is a relation between deficiency of neutrophil granulocytes and granulomatous lesions. Recently, in glycogen storage disease type Ib, this relation has been supported by the beneficial effect of treatment of enteritis with granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor. AIM: To investigate whether chronic granulomatous disease could be treated according to the same principle. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Inflammatory lesions were monitored in two brothers with chronic granulomatous disease demonstrated by very low superoxide production in neutrophil granulocytes. The two patients were treated with recombinant human granulocyte colony stimulating factor on three occasions when the disease was active. RESULTS: In one patient, remission of an inflamed stenosis of the colon sigmoideum was shown by granulocyte scintigraphy after one month of treatment with granulocyte colony stimulating factor. In the other patient, remission of colon disease of later of a non-malignant tumor in the right lung hilum was shown by colonoscopy and computed tomography scans respectively. CONCLUSION: Remission of inflammatory lesions in two brothers with chronic granulomatous disease was induced by granulocyte colony stimulating factor on three occasions. The mechanism for this effect is now known. The result is similar to the response found in patients with leucocyte deficiency due to glycogen storage disease type Ib.
Chronic obstructive pancreatitis due to a pancreatic cyst in a patient with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease.
Malka D. Hammel P. Vilgrain V. Flejou JF. Belghiti J. Bernades P.
Medical-Surgical Federation of Hepatogastroenterology, Hopital Beaujon, Clichy, France.
BACKGROUND: Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, the most frequent inherited polycystic disease, is a systemic disorder characterised by the development of numerous and bilateral kidney cysts leading to chronic renal failure. Extrarenal cysts are located mainly in the liver but also in various organs including the pancreas. To our knowledge, complications of pancreatic cysts in this disease have never been reported. PATIENT: The first case of painful chronic obstructive pancreatitis due to a true pancreatic cyst in a patient with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease is reported. Abdominal transparietal and endoscopic ultrasonography, computed tomography, and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography showed a cystic lesion in the body of the pancreas associated with upstream dilatation of the main pancreatic duct. Intraoperative ultrasonography before and after cyst fluid aspiration, and pancreatography and pathological examination of the resected distal pancreas confirmed that both main pancreatic duct enlargement and chronic pancreatitis were caused by a benign cyst. CONCLUSION: Chronic obstructive pancreatitis should be added to the extrarenal complications of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease.
The association between primary biliary cirrhosis and coeliac disease: a study of relative prevalences.
Kingham JG. Parker DR.
Department of Gastroenterology, Singleton Hospital, Swansea, UK.
BACKGROUND: Coexistent primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) and coeliac disease has been recorded but the association has not been systematically studied. AIMS: To determine relative prevalences of PBC and coeliac disease in a defined population over a 12 year period. PATIENTS AND METHODS: All patients with PBC or coeliac disease in a stable population of 250,000 in South Wales were identified from a clinical register and laboratory records. RESULTS: Sixty seven patients with PBC and 143 patients with coeliac disease have been diagnosed and followed over a median of 86 (4-135) months; point prevalences in 1996 were 20 per 100,000 for PBC and 54 per 100,000 for coeliac disease. PBC in patients with coeliac disease was sought by investigating abnormal liver function tests. Ten (7%) had persistent abnormalities and three had PBC. Coeliac disease in patients with PBC was sought by investigating malabsorption, haematinic deficiency, positive antigliadin antibody, or coeliac disease family history. Eleven patients underwent duodenal biopsy revealing one further coeliac disease case. Four patients (three women have both conditions giving a point prevalence for patients with both conditions of 1.6 per 100,000 (95% confidence limits 0.44 to 4.1 per 100,000). Prevalence of PBC in patients with coeliac disease was 3% and of coeliac disease in patients with PBC was 6%. CONCLUSION: A 12 year study of a stable 250,000 population revealed a relative prevalence of PBC in 3% of 143 patients with coeliac disease and of coeliac disease in 6% of 67 patients with PBC. PBC and coeliac disease are therefore associated. Screening for PBC in patients with coeliac disease using antimitochondrial antibody testing and screening for coeliac disease in patients with PBC with antigliadin antibody testing or duodenal biopsy are recommended.
Abnormal mucus in cap polyposis.
Buisine MP. Colombel JF. Lecomte-Houcke M. Gower P. Aubert JP. Porchet N. Janin A.
Laboratoire de Biochimie et de Biologie Moleculaire Hopital Huriez, CHRU Lille, France.
BACKGROUND: Cap polyposis is a rare disease characterised by mucoid and bloody diarrhoea, with polyps covered by a cap of mucoid and fibrinopurulent exudate. The pathogenesis is not known. AIMS: To pour some light on cap polyposis pathogenesis, by examining the mucus of patients and analysing the expression of five mucin genes, MUC2, MUC3, MUC4, MUC5AC, and MUC5B. PATIENT AND METHODS: The study was performed on biopsy specimens taken from a patient with recurrent cap polyposis. Histochemical examination, electron microscopy, and mRNA in situ hybridisation were used. RESULTS: The mucus of cap polyposis differed in three respects from that of normal adult colon: abnormal ultrastructure of the mucus in the goblet cells, predominance of non-sulphated mucins, abnormal expression of the MUC4, MUC3, and MUC5AC genes. CONCLUSIONS: Most of these abnormalities have been reported for other pathological situations, suggesting that the abnormalities observed in the mucus of this patient with cap polyposis are probably secondary phenomena rather than primary. However, the mucin abnormalities detected, which reflect deregulation of the expression of three apomucin genes, abnormal glycosylation, and abnormalities of the secretion process, are also probably involved in the clinical manifestations of cap polyposis.
Interleukin 10 is a growth factor for a population of regulatory T cells.
Asseman C. Powrie F.
Nuffield Dept of Surgery, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, UK.
Induction and maintenance of peripheral tolerance are important mechanisms to maintain the balance of the immune system. In addition to the deletion of T cells and their failure to respond in certain circumstances, active suppression mediated by T cells or T-cell factors has been proposed as a mechanism for maintaining peripheral tolerance. However, the inability to isolate and clone regulatory T cells involved in antigen-specific inhibition of immune responses has made it difficult to understand the mechanisms underlying such suppression. Here, we show that chronic activation of both human and murine CD4+ T cells in the presence of interleukin (IL)-10 gives rise to CD4+ T-cell clones with low proliferative capacity, producing high levels of IL-10, low levels of IL-2 and no IL-4. These antigen-specific T-cell clones suppress the proliferation of CD4+ T cells in response to antigen, and prevent colitis induced in SCID mice by pathogenic CD4+CD45RBhigh splenic T cells. Thus IL-10 drives the generation of a CD4+ T-cell subset, designated T regulatory cells 1 (Tr1), which suppresses antigen-specific immune responses and actively downregulates a pathological immune response in vivo.
Eradicating Helicobacter pylori reduces hypergastrinaemia during long-term omeprazole treatment.
el-Nujumi A. Williams C. Ardill JE. Oien K. McColl KE.
University Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Western Infirmary, Glasgow, UK.
BACKGROUND: Both proton pump inhibitor drug treatment and Helicobacter pylori infection cause hypergastrinaemia in man. AIMS: To determine whether eradicating H pylori is a means of reducing hypergastrinaemia during subsequent proton pump inhibitor treatment. METHODS: Patients with H pylori were randomised to treatment with either anti-H pylori or symptomatic treatment. One month later, all received four weeks treatment with omeprazole 40 mg/day for one month followed by 20 mg/day for six months. Serum gastrin concentrations were measured before and following each treatment. RESULTS: In the patients randomised to anti-H pylori treatment, eradication of the infection lowered median fasting gastrin by 48% and meal stimulated gastrin by 46%. When gastrin concentrations one month following anti-H pylori/symptomatic treatment were used as baseline, omeprazole treatment produced a similar percentage increase in serum gastrin in the H pylori infected and H pylori eradicated patients. Consequently, in the patients in which H pylori was not eradicated, median fasting gastrin concentration was 38 ng/l (range 26-86) at initial presentation and increased to 64 ng/l (range 29-271) after seven months omeprazole, representing a median increase of 68% (p < 0.005). In contrast, in the patients randomised to H pylori eradication, median fasting gastrin at initial presentation was 54 ng/l (range 17-226) and was unchanged after seven months omeprazole at 38 ng/l (range 17-95). CONCLUSION: Eradicating H pylori is a means of reducing the rise in gastrin during subsequent long term omeprazole treatment. In view of the potential deleterious effects of hypergastrinaemia it may be appropriate to render patients H pylori negative prior to commencing long-term proton pump inhibitor treatment.
Anticipation in familial Crohns disease.
Grandbastien B. Peeters M. Franchimont D. Gower-Rousseau C. Speckel D. Rutgeerts P. Belaiche J. Cortot A. Vlietinck R. Colombel JF.
Registre des Maladies Inflammatoires du Tube Digestif du Nord-Ouest de la France (EPIMAD), Service D'Hepato-Gastroenterologie, Hopital Huriez, CH et U Lille, France.
BACKGROUND: Offspring with a family history of Crohn's disease have an earlier age of onset than their parents. This might be due to genetic anticipation, characterised by earlier and/or more severe disease in subsequent generations. AIMS: To investigate the possibility of genetic anticipation in affected parent-child pairs with Crohn's disease from France and Belgium. PATIENTS AND METHODS: In a cohort of 160 multiply affected families with Crohn's disease, 57 parent-first affected child pairs were detected. Clinical characteristics (age at diagnosis, disease extent, and type) of both parents and children were registered and compared. RESULTS: Children were younger than their parents at diagnosis in 48/57 (84%) pairs. The median age at diagnosis was 16 years younger in children than in parents (p < 0.0001). However, the difference was related to the age at diagnosis in the parents and was not present in 12 parent-child pairs with an early age at diagnosis for the parents. In most cases, disease extent and type were not considered more severe in children than in parents. Parental sex affected neither age at diagnosis nor extent and type of disease in children. CONCLUSION: Patients in the second affected generation acquire their disease at an earlier time in life in some but not all familial cases of Crohn's disease. Several explanations including genetic anticipation and environmental factors might explain this phenomenon.
General and cancer specific mortality of a population based cohort of patients with inflammatory bowel disease: the Florence Study.
Palli D. Trallori G. Saieva C. Tarantino O. Edili E. D'Albasio G. Pacini F. Masala G.
Sez. Epidemiologia Analitica, U.O. Epidemiologia, CSPO, Florence, Italy.
BACKGROUND: A population based epidemiological study identified all the patients diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn's disease (CD) resident in the Florence area in the period 1978-1992. AIMS: To assess the mortality of unselected patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in a Mediterranean country. METHODS: Overall, 920 patients (689 UC and 231 CD) were followed until death or end of follow up (31 December 1996). Information on vital status was available for all except eight patients (0.9%); 70 deaths were identified (23 in patients with CD and 47 in patients with UC). Expected deaths were estimated on the basis of five year age group, gender, and calendar year national mortality rates. Standardised mortality ratios (SMR) and 95% confidence intervals were calculated. RESULTS: General mortality was significantly lower than expected in UC (SMR 0.6; 95% confidence interval 0.4 to 0.8), due to a reduced number of cardiovascular and, possibly, smoking related deaths. Cancers of the respiratory tract were significantly reduced in UC but tended to be increased in patients with CD. These latter patients had not only an increased cancer mortality but also a 40% increased risk of dying for all causes already evident in the first five year follow up period and persisting thereafter. In contrast, in patients with UC, SMRs were initially very low but tended to increase steadily over the follow up period. Gastrointestinal deaths were particularly increased in patients with CD, but only moderately in those with UC. Overall, there was some evidence of a twofold increased mortality for colorectal cancer, the risk being highest for rectal cancers in patients with UC. A non-significant excess of deaths due to haemolymphopoietic malignancies and suicides was also observed. CONCLUSIONS: This study, the first in a Mediterranean country, supports the existence of two divergent mortality patterns for patients with UC and CD, possibly explained by differences in smoking habits and by a greater severity of CD.
Increased expression of an inducible isoform of nitric oxide synthase and the formation of peroxynitrite in colonic mucosa of patients with active ulcerative colitis.
Kimura H. Hokari R. Miura S. Shigematsu T. Hirokawa M. Akiba Y. Kurose I. Higuchi H. Fujimori H. Tsuzuki Y. Serizawa H. Ishii H.
Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Keio University, Tokyo, 160, Japan.
BACKGROUND: Increased production of reactive metabolites of oxygen and nitrogen has been implicated in chronic inflammation of the gut. The object of this study was to examine the magnitude and location of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity and peroxynitrite formation in the colonic mucosa of patients with ulcerative colitis in relation to the degree of inflammation. SUBJECTS: Thirty three patients with active ulcerative colitis (17 with mild or moderate inflammation, 16 with severe inflammation). METHODS: Inducible NOS activity was determined in the colonic mucosa by measuring the conversion of L-arginine to citrulline in the absence of calcium. The localisation of NOS and nitrotyrosine immunoreactivity was assessed immunohistochemically using the labelled streptavidin biotin method. RESULTS: Inducible NOS activity increased in parallel with the degree of inflammation of the mucosa. Expression of inducible NOS was found not only in the lamina propria, but also in the surface of the epithelium. Peroxynitrite formation as assessed by nitrotyrosine staining was frequently observed in the lamina propria of actively inflamed mucosa. CONCLUSIONS: Nitric oxide and peroxynitrite formation may play an important role in causing irreversible cellular injury to the colonic mucosa in patients with active ulcerative colitis.
Bone mineral density and nutritional status in children with chronic inflammatory bowel disease.
Boot AM. Bouquet J. Krenning EP. de Muinck Keizer-Schrama SM.
Department of Paediatrics, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
BACKGROUND: Osteoporosis has been reported in adult patients with inflammatory bowel disease. AIMS: To evaluate bone mineral density (BMD), nutritional status, and determinants of BMD in children with inflammatory bowel disease. PATIENTS: Fifty five patients (34 boys and 21 girls, age range 4-18) were studied; 22 had Crohn's disease and 33 ulcerative colitis. METHODS: Lumbar spine and total body BMD, and body composition were assessed by dual energy x ray absorptiometry (DXA). Results were expressed as standard deviation scores (SDS). Lean body mass was also assessed by bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). Yearly measurements during two years were performed in 21 patients. RESULTS: The mean SDS of lumbar spine BMD and total body BMD were significantly lower than normal (-0.75 and -0.95, both p < 0.001). Height SDS and body mass index SDS were also decreased. The decrease in BMD SDS could not be explained by delay in bone maturation. The cumulative dose of prednisolone correlated negatively with lumbar spine BMD SDS (r = -0.32, p < 0.02). Body mass index SDS correlated positively with total body BMD SDS (r = 0.36, p < 0.02). Patients with Crohn's disease had significantly lower lumbar spine and total body BMD SDS than patients with ulcerative colitis, even after adjustment for cumulative dose of prednisolone. In the longitudinal data cumulative dose of prednisolone between the measurements correlated negatively with the change in lumbar spine and total body BMD SDS. Lean tissue mass measured by DXA had a strong correlation with lean body mass measured by BIA (r = 0.98). CONCLUSIONS: Children with inflammatory bowel disease have a decreased BMD. Children with Crohn's disease have a higher risk of developing osteopaenia than children with ulcerative colitis. Corticosteroid therapy and nutritional status are important determinants of BMD in these patients.
Use of mesalazine slow release suppositories 1 g three times per week to maintain remission of ulcerative proctitis: a randomised double blind placebo controlled multicentre study.
Marteau P. Crand J. Foucault M. Rambaud JC.
Gastroenterology Unit, Saint-Lazare Hospital, Paris, France.
BACKGROUND: Daily administration of rectal formulations of mesalazine is effective in preventing relapse of ulcerative proctitis. Maintenance of remission with lower doses would be an advantage. AIM: The efficacy of mesalazine suppositories (Pentasa) 1 g three times a week v placebo to maintain remission in patients with cryptogenetic proctitis was studied. METHODS: Ninety five patients with cryptogenetic proctitis were randomised within two weeks of remission to receive for one year or until relapse three suppositories per week of either Pentasa (n = 48) or placebo (n = 47). In the case of a relapse, the patients received one suppository/day. RESULTS: It was found that 25 of 48 subjects v 18 of 47 remained in remission in the mesalazine and placebo groups respectively. The relapse rate was lower in the mesalazine group for the following time intervals: 0-90 days (19% v 38%, p = 0.035), 0-180 days (29% v 54%, p = 0.017), 0-270 days (38% v 60%, p = 0.031), and 0-365 days (48% v 62%, p = 0.18). Treatment of relapse with one suppository/day induced remission in 11 of 18 and 2 of 26 patients in the mesalazine and placebo groups respectively (p = 0.001). Overall, 61% v 28% patients remained in the protocol and were in remission at one year (p = 0.001). Tolerance was good. CONCLUSION: Mesalazine suppositories 1 g three times a week are effective for preventing relapses of cryptogenetic proctitis. Increasing the dose to 1 g/day is effective in a high proportion of subjects who relapsed.
Expression of interleukin 1 beta and interleukin 1 beta converting enzyme by intestinal macrophages in health and inflammatory bowel disease.
McAlindon ME. Hawkey CJ. Mahida YR.
Division of Gastroenterology, School of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University Hospital, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK.
BACKGROUND: In the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulated peripheral blood monocyte, the precursor form of interleukin 1 beta (IL-1 beta, 31 kD) is processed by IL-1 beta converting enzyme (ICE) to the mature, bioactive form (17 kD). IL-1 beta is a proinflammatory cytokine which is likely to have a role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). AIMS: To investigate the expression and processing of IL-1 beta and ICE by tissue macrophages from normal and IBD colonic mucosa. METHODS: Mucosal biopsy specimens and lamina propria cells from normal and IBD colons were studied by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), western blot analysis, and ELISA (enzyme linked immunosorbent assay). RESULTS: Normal colonic macrophages synthesised only the precursor form of IL-1 beta whereas in IBD the mature form was also produced. Similarly, cells from normal colonic mucosa synthesised ICE as the precursor (p45) only, whereas macrophages from IBD colons produced active (p20) ICE. Ac-Tyr-Val-Ala-Asp-CHO, a specific peptide aldehyde inhibitor of ICE, significantly reduced the amount of mature IL-1 beta released by isolated IBD macrophages (from a median of 1.2 (range 0.78-4.42) ng/ml to 0.43 (0.21-1.6) ng/ml; p < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Exposure of normal colonic macrophages to LPS only induces the production of the precursor form of IL-1 beta, because the cells fail to activate ICE. In contrast, IBD colonic macrophages are able to activate ICE and hence release mature IL-1 beta in a manner similar to circulating monocytes. This is consistent with IBD macrophages being recently recruited from the circulating monocyte population. Targeted inhibition of ICE may represent a novel form of therapy in IBD.
Motor function of the proximal stomach and visceral perception in gastro-oesophageal reflux disease.
Penagini R. Hebbard G. Horowitz M. Dent J. Bermingham H. Jones K. Holloway RH.
Istituto Scienze Mediche dell'Universita, IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore, Milan, Italy.
BACKGROUND: The abnormally high postprandial rate of transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxations seen in patients with reflux disease may be related to altered proximal gastric motor function. Heightened visceral sensitivity may also contribute to reporting of symptoms in these patients. AIMS: To assess motor function of the proximal stomach and visceral perception in reflux disease with a barostat. METHODS: Fasting and postprandial proximal gastric motility, sensation, and symptoms were measured in nine patients with reflux disease and nine healthy subjects. Gastric emptying of solids and liquids was assessed in six of the patients on a different day (and compared to historical controls). RESULTS: Minimal distending pressure and gastric compliance were similar in the two groups, whereas the patients experienced fullness at lower pressures (p < 0.05) and discomfort at lower balloon volumes (p < 0.005) during isobaric and isovolumetric distensions respectively. Maximal gastric relaxation induced by the meal was similar in the two groups. Late after the meal, however, proximal gastric tone was lower (p < 0.01) and the score for fullness higher (p < 0.01) in the reflux patients, in whom the retention of both solids and liquids in the proximal stomach was greater (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Reflux disease is associated with delayed recovery of proximal gastric tone after a meal and increased visceral sensitivity. The former may contribute to the increased prevalence of reflux during transient lower oesophageal sphincter relaxations and the delay in emptying from the proximal stomach, whereas both may contribute to symptom reporting.
Omeprazole induces altered bile acid metabolism.
Shindo K. Machida M. Fukumura M. Koide K. Yamazaki R.
First Department of Internal Medicine, Yokohama City University, School of Medicine, Japan.
BACKGROUND: It has been reported that the acidity of gastric contents could be an important factor in regulating jejunal flora. AIMS: To investigate the effects of omeprazole induced changes in gastric pH on jejunal flora and bile acid metabolism. METHODS: Twenty one patients with gastric ulcer and 19 healthy volunteers were studied. Deconjugation of bile acids was detected using a bile acid breath test. Jejunal fluid was aspirated using a double lumen tube with a rubber cover on the tip and deconjugation was examined using thin layer chromatography. Fat malabsorption was detected by a triolein breath test. RESULTS: In the bile acid breath test, expired breath samples from all patients and healthy volunteers showed significantly greater 14CO2 specific activity after omeprazole treatment (20 mg/day) than before treatment. Bacterial overgrowth was found in the jejunal fluid and gastric juice of both ulcer patients and healthy volunteers after omeprazole treatment. The following species were identified: Escherichia coli, Candida albicans, enterococcus, Lactobacillus bifidus, Bacteroides vulgatus, B uniformis, Eubacterium lentum, Eu parvum, and Corynebacterium granulosum. All of these species, except E coli and C albicans, deconjugate bile acids. There was a significant correlation between 14CO2 activity and gastric pH, both before and after omeprazole treatment in both groups. The triolein breath test revealed impaired fat absorption in both groups after omeprazole treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Both patients with gastric ulcer and healthy volunteers exhibited increased deconjugation of bile acids caused by bacterial overgrowth in the jejunum and fat malabsorption after omeprazole treatment. The bacterial over-growth consisted of both anaerobes and aerobes with deconjugation ability and was probably associated with an omeprazole induced shift to neutral pH in the gastric juice.
Inhibition of phenolsulphotransferase by salicylic acid: a possible mechanism by which aspirin may reduce carcinogenesis.
Harris RM. Hawker RJ. Langman MJ. Singh S. Waring RH.
School of Biochemistry, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, UK.
BACKGROUND: Recent epidemiological evidence has shown that chronic use of aspirin decreases susceptibility to bowel cancer. Animal studies have shown that sulphotransferase inhibitors coadministered with sulphation activated carcinogens dramatically reduce the incidence of cancer. AIMS: To investigate the effect of the main aspirin breakdown product, salicylic acid, on the P and M isoforms of phenolsulphotransferase from human platelets and colonic mucosa. METHODS: Platelets were obtained from healthy blood donors and isolated within 24 hours after donation. Samples of colonic mucosa were obtained at resection for non-malignant disease. Phenolsulphotransferase activity was measured in cellular homogenates using a standard radiolabelling assay. RESULTS: Salicylic acid consistently and selectively inhibited the P form of phenolsulphotransferase at subtherapeutic concentrations in both tissue samples. A 50% inhibition of sulphation by the P phenolsulphotransferase occurred at salicylic acid concentrations of about 40 and 130 microM in platelets and bowel mucosa respectively. M phenolsulphotransferase was virtually unaffected by salicylic acid up to a concentration of 1.5 mM (the therapeutic plasma concentration for salicylates when treating rheumatoid arthritis is about 1-2 mM). CONCLUSION: The action of salicylic acid on P phenolsulphotransferase, by preventing the excessive activation of carcinogens, is a possible additional pathway by which aspirin can reduce cancer risk.
Acute effect of propranolol and isosorbide-5-mononitrate administration on renal blood flow in cirrhotic patients.
Stanley AJ. Bouchier IA. Hayes PC.
Department of Medicine, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, UK.
BACKGROUND: Propranolol and isosorbide-5-mononitrate (ISMN) are increasingly used in the prophylaxis of variceal haemorrhage in cirrhosis. However, recent studies have suggested that these drugs may compromise renal function, possibly by reducing renal blood flow. AIMS: To assess the acute effects of propranolol and ISMN on renal blood flow and other haemodynamic parameters in cirrhosis. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Twenty six cirrhotic patients were given either 80 mg propranolol, 20 mg ISMN, or a combination of the two drugs. Unilateral renal blood flow (RBF), azygos blood flow (AZBF), hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG), mean arterial pressure (MAP), and heart rate (HR) were recorded prior to and one hour after drug administration. RESULTS: Propranolol caused a reduction in HR (p < 0.005), AZBF (p < 0.01), and HVPG (p = 0.05), but no change in MAP or RBF (454.1 (77.3) versus 413.9 (60.3) ml/min). ISMN reduced MAP (p < 0.005) and HVPG (p < 0.01), but had no effect on HR, AZBF, or RBF (302.5 (49.4) versus 301.7 (58.8) ml/min). Combined treatment reduced MAP (p < 0.005), AZBF (p < 0.05), and HVPG (p = 0.002), but HR and RBF (419.2 (62.6) versus 415.1 (61.1) ml/min) remained unchanged. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the anticipated changes in other haemodynamic parameters, acute propranolol and/or ISMN administration did not reduce RBF. These drugs do not seem to compromise RBF in cirrhosis.
Effect of endoscopic sphincterotomy on gall bladder bile lithogenicity and motility.
Sharma BC. Agarwal DK. Baijal SS. Negi TS. Choudhuri G. Saraswat VA.
Department of Gastroenterology, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, India.
BACKGROUND: Endoscopic sphincterotomy has been shown to inhibit stone formation in the gall bladder of experimental animals. AIMS: To investigate the alterations in bile composition and gall bladder motility after endoscopic sphincterotomy. PATIENTS: A study was performed of gall bladder bile composition and gall bladder motility in patients with gallstone disease ((n = 20; age 40-60 years, median age 55 years: seven men), with gall bladder calculi (n = 12) and with diseased gall bladder (chronic inflammation) without gall bladder calculi (n = 8)), who had received endoscopic sphincterotomy for common bile duct stones. Age and sex matched disease controls comprised 20 patients with gallstone disease but without stones and an intact sphincter of Oddi (with gall bladder calculi (n = 10) and diseased gall bladder without gall bladder calculi (n = 10)). METHODS: Gall bladder motility was assessed by ultrasound. Duodenal bile collected by nasoduodenal tube after stimulation of gall bladder by intravenous ceruletid infusion was analysed for cholesterol, phospholipid, and bile acid concentrations, cholesterol saturation index, and nucleation time. RESULTS: There was a significant reduction in mean (SEM) fasting volume (12.5 (1.7) ml v 26.4 (2.5) ml; p < 0.001) and mean (SEM) residual volume (4.34 (0.9) ml v 14.7 (0.98) ml; p < 0.001), and increase in mean (SEM) ejection fraction (65.7 (4.2)% v 43.6 (5.52)%; p < 0.001) and mean (SEM) rate constant of gall bladder emptying (-0.031/min v -0.020/min; p < 0.01) in patients who had been subjected to endoscopic sphincterotomy. Median nucleation time was significantly longer (17 days v 6 days; p < 0.006) in treated patients. There was a reduction in total mean (SEM) lipid concentrations (6.73 (0.32) g/dl v 7.72 (0.84) g/dl; p < 0.05), cholesterol (5.6 (1.5) mmol/l v 10.3 (2.23) mmol/l; p < 0.001) and CSI (0.72 (0.15) v 1.32 (0.31); p < 0.001). There was no significant change in mean (SEM) phospholipid (25.6 (3.5) mmol/l v 23.4 (6.28) mmol/l) and bile acid (93.7 (7.31) mmol/l v 105.07 (16.6) mmol/l) concentrations. CONCLUSIONS: After endoscopic sphincterotomy there was enhanced contractility of the gall bladder, accompanied by a prolongation of nucleation time and reduction in cholesterol saturation index.
Viral vectors expressing immunoregulatory cytokines to treat inflammatory bowel disease.
Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, UK.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is characterised by altered immunoregulation and augmented synthesis of nitric oxide. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of exogenous IL-4, introduced by a recombinant human type 5 adenovirus (Ad5) vector, on the tissue injury associated with an experimental model of colonic immune activation and inflammation. Colitis was induced in rats by the intrarectal administration of trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNB) dissolved in 50% ethanol, and control rats received saline via the same route. 1 h later, all rats were randomized into two groups. The first group was injected intraperitoneally (i.p.) with 3.0 x 10(6) plaque forming units (PFUs) of Ad5 transfected with murine interleukin-4 (Ad5IL-4) and the second group was injected i.p. with the same amount of Ad5 expressing the Escherichia coli Lac Z gene (Ad5LacZ). One-half of the colitic and controls rats were injected again with 3.0 x 10(6) PFUs of Ad5IL-4 or Ad5LacZ on day 3 of the 6-d study. When introduced once or twice via the peritoneal route into control rats Ad5LacZ was localised to the serosal lining of the peritoneal cavity, the diaphragm and the liver on day 6. One or two injections of Ad5IL-4 into rats also produced measurable levels of circulating IL-4. TNB-colitis in both Ad5LacZ-treated groups was associated with pronounced elevations in serum IFN-gamma, and mucosal ulceration of the distal colon. Myeloperoxidase and inducible nitric oxide synthase II (NOS II) synthetic activity were also increased by 30- and fivefold, respectively, above control levels in the distal colon. However, two injections of AD5IL-4 into colitic rats caused the overexpression of IL-4, and significantly inhibited tissue damage, serum and colon IFN-gamma levels and myeloperoxidase activity in the distal colon. In addition, NOS II gene expression and NOS II nitric oxide synthesis was significantly inhibited. No therapeutic effect was observed in rats injected once with AD5IL-4. Thus, IL-4, introduced by Ad5, is therapeutic during acute inflammation in the rat colon. The therapeutic effect of IL-4 was associated with an inhibition of inducible nitric oxide expression and a reduction in nitric oxide synthesis.
Increased secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines by circulating polymorphonuclear neutrophils and regulation by interleukin 10 during intestinal inflammation.
Nikolaus S. Bauditz J. Gionchetti P. Witt C. Lochs H. Schreiber S.
Charite University Hospital, 4th Medical Department, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
BACKGROUND: Concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines are increased in the intestinal mucosa of patients with active inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Polymorphonuclear neutrophil granulocytes (PMN) are the most abundant cell type in intestinal lesions in IBD. Interleukin 10 (IL-10) is an important contra-inflammatory cytokine which induces downregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines. AIMS: To investigate whether PMN from patients with IBD or infectious colitis, respectively, secrete increased amounts of pro-inflammatory cytokines and can be regulated by IL-10. METHODS: Secretion (ELISA) as well as corresponding mRNA levels (semiquantitative RT-PCR) of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1 beta, TNF-alpha) and of IL-1 receptor antagonist were assessed in peripheral PMN. RESULTS: PMN from patients with IBD are primed to secrete enhanced amounts of pro-inflammatory cytokines accompanied by detection of corresponding mRNAs in comparison with normal controls. This finding is not specific for IBD but rather reflects intestinal inflammation in general. IL-10 markedly inhibited proinflammatory cytokine secretion as well as corresponding mRNA concentrations. CONCLUSIONS: PMN are an important source of pro-inflammatory cytokines in patients with intestinal inflammation and can be downregulated by IL-10.
Activation of nuclear factor kappa B inflammatory bowel disease.
Schreiber S. Nikolaus S. Hampe J.
Charite University Hospital, 4th Medical Department, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
BACKGROUND: Expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines is increased in the intestinal lamina propria of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Nuclear factor kappa B (NF kappa B) controls transcription of inflammation genes. On activation, NF kappa B is rapidly released from its cytoplasmic inhibitor (I kappa B), transmigrates into the nucleus, and binds to DNA response elements in gene promoter regions. AIMS: To investigate whether increased activation of NF kappa B is important in IBD and may be down-regulated by anti-inflammatory treatment. METHODS: Activation of NF kappa B was determined by western blot assessment and electrophoretic mobility shift assay in nuclear extracts of colonic biopsy samples as well as lamina propria mononuclear cells. RESULTS: Nuclear levels of NF kappa B p65 are increased in lamina propria biopsy specimens from patients with Crohn's disease in comparison with patients with ulcerative colitis and controls. Increased activation of NF kappa B was detected in lamina propria mononuclear cells from patients with active IBD. Corticosteroids strongly inhibit intestinal NF kappa B activation in IBD in vivo and in vitro by stabilising the cytosolic inhibitor I kappa B alpha against activation induced degradation. CONCLUSIONS: In both IBDs, but particularly Crohn's disease, increased activation of NF kappa B may be involved in the regulation of the inflammatory response. Inhibition of NF kappa B activation may represent a mechanism by which steroids exert an anti-inflammatory effect in IBD.
Impairment of intestinal glutathione synthesis in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
Sido B. Hack V. Hochlehnert A. Lipps H. Herfarth C. Droge W.
Department of Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Germany.
BACKGROUND: Reactive oxygen species contribute to tissue injury in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The tripeptide glutathione (GSH) is the most important intracellular antioxidant. AIMS: To investigate constituent amino acid plasma levels and the GSH redox status in different compartments in IBD with emphasis on intestinal GSH synthesis in Crohn's disease. METHODS: Precursor amino acid levels were analysed in plasma and intestinal mucosa. Reduced (rGSH) and oxidised glutathione (GSSG) were determined enzymatically in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), red blood cells (RBC), muscle, and in non-inflamed and inflamed ileum mucosa. Mucosal enzyme activity of gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase (gamma GCS) and gamma-glutamyl transferase (gamma GT) was analysed. Blood of healthy subjects and normal mucosa from a bowel segment resected for tumor growth were used as controls. RESULTS: Abnormally low plasma cysteine and cystine levels were associated with inflammation in IBD (p < 10(-4)). Decreased rGSH levels were demonstrated in non-inflamed mucosa (p < 0.01) and inflamed mucosa (p = 10(-6)) in patients with IBD, while GSSG increased with inflammation (p = 0.007) compared with controls. Enzyme activity of gamma GCS was reduced in non-inflamed mucosa (p < 0.01) and, along with gamma GT, in inflamed mucosa (p < 10(-4)). The GSH content was unchanged in PBMC, RBC, and muscle. CONCLUSIONS: Decreased activity of key enzymes involved in GSH synthesis accompanied by a decreased availability of cyst(e)ine for GSH synthesis contribute to mucosal GSH deficiency in IBD. As the impaired mucosal antioxidative capacity may further promote oxidative damage, GSH deficiency might be a target for therapeutic intervention in IBD.
Low dose oral pH modified release budesonide for maintenance of steroid induced remission in Crohns disease. The Budesonide Study Group.
Gross V. Andus T. Ecker KW. Raedler A. Loeschke K. Plauth M. Rasenack J. Weber A. Gierend M. Ewe K. Scholmerich J.
Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Regensburg, Germany.
BACKGROUND: The relapse rate after steroid induced remission in Crohn's disease is high. AIMS: To test whether oral pH modified release budesonide (3 x 1 mg/day) reduces the relapse rate and to identify patient subgroups with an increased risk of relapse. METHODS: In a multicentre, randomised, double blind study, 179 patients with steroid induced remission of Crohn's disease received either 3 x 1 mg budesonide (n = 84) or placebo (n = 95) for one year. The primary study aim was the maintenance of remission of Crohn's disease for one year. RESULTS: Patient characteristics at study entry were similar for both groups. The relapse rate was 67% (56/84) in the budesonide group and 65% (62/95) in the placebo group. The relapse curves in both groups were similar. The mean time to relapse was 93.5 days in the budesonide group and 67.0 days in the placebo group. No prognostic factors allowing prediction of an increased risk for relapse or definition of patient subgroups who derived benefit from low dose budesonide were found. Drug related side effects were mild and no different between the budesonide and the placebo group. CONCLUSION: Oral pH modified release budesonide at a dose of 3 x 1 mg/day is not effective for maintaining steroid induced remission in Crohn's disease.
Controlled trial of antituberculous chemotherapy in Crohns disease: a five year follow up study.
Thomas GA. Swift GL. Green JT. Newcombe RG. Braniff-Mathews C. Rhodes J. Wilkinson S. Strohmeyer G. Kreuzpainter G.
Department of Gastroenterology, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, UK.
BACKGROUND: It has been suggested that Mycobacterium paratuberculosis is the cause of Crohn's disease. In a previous report the immediate effect of two years treatment with antituberculous chemotherapy showed no clinical benefit. AIMS: To assess both the immediate and longer term effect of treatment on the disease. METHODS: Patients were followed for five years from their date of entry to the study. One hundred and thirty patients entered the initial study, and of these 111 (81%) were followed regularly. RESULTS: Overall, there was no evidence of consistent benefit or disadvantage from antituberculous chemotherapy in any of the assessments made, including the number of acute relapses, surgical episodes, hospital admissions, disease activity, blood tests, or medication required for Crohn's disease during the follow up period. CONCLUSION: The absence of any benefit at the end of the initial two year trial period, and during the three year subsequent follow up, fails to support the hypothesis that mycobacteria play an important part in the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease, or that antituberculous chemotherapy may be of benefit.
Altered vagal and intestinal mechanosensory function in chronic unexplained dyspepsia.
Holtmann G. Goebell H. Jockenhoevel F. Talley NJ.
Division of Gastroenterology, University of Sydney, Nepean Hospital, Australia.
BACKGROUND: Abnormal visceral mechanosensory and vagal function may play a role in the development of functional gastrointestinal disorders. AIMS: To assess whether vagal efferent and afferent function is linked with small intestinal mechanosensory function. METHODS: In seven patients with functional dyspepsia, six patients with a history of Billroth I gastrectomy and/or vagotomy, and seven healthy controls, intestinal perception thresholds were tested by a randomised ramp distension procedure performed with a barostat device. On a separate day, an insulin hypoglycaemia test was performed to assess the plasma levels of pancreatic polypeptide (PP) in response to hypoglycaemia, as a test of efferent vagal function. RESULTS: First perception of intestinal balloon distension occurred at significantly lower pressures in patients with functional dyspepsia (median 19.3, range 14.7-25.3 mm Hg) compared with healthy controls (median 26.0, range 21.7-43.7 mm Hg, p < 0.01). Sensory thresholds were significantly lower in patients after gastrectomy (median 12.2, range 8.0-14.7 mm Hg, p < 0.05 versus all others). In healthy controls and patients with functional dyspepsia, insulin hypoglycaemia significantly (p < 0.001) increased plasma PP levels. However, only two out of seven patients with functional dyspepsia had a more than twofold increase in PP values whereas all healthy controls had a more than twofold increase in PP levels after insulin hypoglycaemia (p < 0.05). In contrast, there was no significant PP response in the gastrectomised patients (median 2%, range -10 to +23%). PP responses and visceral sensory thresholds were significantly correlated (r = 0.65, p < 0.002). CONCLUSIONS: The diminished PP response after insulin hypoglycaemia indicates disturbed efferent vagal function in a subgroup of patients with functional dyspepsia. The data also suggest that the intact vagal nerve may exert an antinociceptive visceral effect.
Biofeedback provides long-term benefit for patients with intractable, slow and normal transit constipation.
Chiotakakou-Faliakou E. Kamm MA. Roy AJ. Storrie JB. Turner IC.
St Mark's Hospital, London, UK.
BACKGROUND: Many patients with idiopathic constipation do not respond to conventional medical treatments. Recently biofeedback has been proposed as an alternative treatment but the long-term results, and which patients benefit, are unknown. Treatment has usually been restricted to patients with normal colonic transit and impaired pelvic floor coordination on straining. AIMS: To determine the efficacy and long-term outcome of biofeedback treatment in idiopathic constipation. METHODS: One hundred consecutive contactable patients who had completed a course of biofeedback more than 12 months previously were identified. Pretreatment details of bowel function and symptoms, whole gut transit time, and anorectal physiological testing, which had been previously prospectively collected, were collated. Follow up consisted of structured interview. Sixty five per cent had slow transit and 59% had paradoxical pelvic floor contraction on straining. RESULTS: Median follow up was 23 months (range 12-44). On long-term follow up 55% felt that biofeedback had helped and 57% felt their constipation was improved. There was a significant reduction in need to strain, abdominal pain, bloating, and oral laxative use. Spontaneous bowel frequency was significantly improved by treatment. Patients with slow and normal transit, males and females, and those with and without paradoxical contraction of the anal sphincter on straining, benefited equally from treatment. Anorectal testing did not predict outcome. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that biofeedback is an effective long term treatment for the majority of patients with idiopathic constipation unresponsive to traditional treatments. Pelvic floor abnormalities and transit time should not form selection criteria for treatment.
Expression of cell membrane complement regulatory glycoproteins along the normal and diseased human gastrointestinal tract.
Berstad AE. Brandtzaeg P.
Laboratory for Immunohistochemistry and Immunopathology (LIIPAT), University of Oslo, National Hospital, Rikshospitalet, Norway.
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Uncontrolled complement activation may be of immunopathological importance in inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Expression of membrane bound factors that regulate complement activation was therefore studied in situ. METHODS: Frozen tissue specimens were obtained from patients with Helicobacter pylori gastritis, coeliac disease, Crohn's disease, or ulcerative colitis, and from histologically normal controls. Sections were examined by immunofluorescence with monoclonal antibodies to protectin (CD59), decay accelerating factor (DAF), and membrane cofactor protein (MCP). RESULTS: Protectin and MCP were widely expressed in normal and diseased mucosae. MCP was generally observed basolaterally on all epithelial cells, whereas apical protectin expression was more intense on the epithelium of normal colonic mucosa than in the normal duodenum (p = 0.001). Epithelial DAF and to some extent protectin were upregulated in gastritis, coeliac disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. Areas of the stomach with intestinal metaplasia expressed DAF, unlike the adjacent gastric epithelium. Parietal cells of the gastric body expressed neither protectin nor DAF. CONCLUSION: Epithelial complement inhibitory molecules were expressed differently at various normal gastrointestinal sites and also in association with mucosal disease, suggesting variable protective potential. Such molecules could play a role in the development of gastric atrophy by protecting areas of intestinal metaplasia. Conversely, parietal cells appeared to be potentially vulnerable targets for complement attack.
Neurotensin receptors: a new marker for human ductal pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Reubi JC. Waser B. Friess H. Buchler M. Laissue J.
Division of Cell Biology and Experimental Cancer Research, University of Berne, Switzerland.
BACKGROUND/AIMS: New imaging possibilities for early diagnosis of the devastating exocrine pancreatic adenocarcinomas would be highly welcome. Recently, pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours have been successfully visualised in vivo on the basis of their high density of receptors for the regulatory peptide somatostatin. Unfortunately, exocrine pancreatic tumours do not express sufficient amounts of somatostatin receptors. Therefore over-expression of other regulatory peptide receptors in these tumours needs to be found. METHODS: Receptors for the regulatory peptide neurotensin were evaluated in vitro by receptor autoradiography in 24 ductal pancreatic adenocarcinomas, 20 endocrine pancreatic cancers, 18 cases of chronic pancreatitis, and 10 normal pancreatic glands. RESULTS: Some 75% of all ductal pancreatic adenocarcinomas, most of them differentiated, were neurotensin receptor positive, whereas endocrine pancreatic cancers did not express neurotensin receptors. No neurotensin receptors were found in chronic pancreatitis or normal pancreatic tissues, including pancreatic acini, ducts, and islets. CONCLUSIONS: The selective and high expression of neurotensin receptors in ductal pancreatic adenocarcinomas could form the molecular basis for potential clinical applications, such as in vivo neurotensin receptor scintigraphy for early tumour diagnosis, radiotherapy with radiolabelled neurotensin analogues, and chemotherapy with neurotensin receptor antagonists.
Faecal elastase 1: not helpful in diagnosing chronic pancreatitis associated with mild to moderate exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.
Lankisch PG. Schmidt I. Konig H. Lehnick D. Knollmann R. Lohr M. Liebe S.
Department of Internal Medicine, Municipal Hospital of Luneburg, Germany.
BACKGROUND/AIM: The suggestion that estimation of faecal elastase 1 is a valuable new tubeless pancreatic function test was evaluated by comparing it with faecal chymotrypsin estimation in patients categorised according to grades of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) based on the gold standard tests, the secretin-pancreozymin test (SPT) and faecal fat analysis. METHODS: In 64 patients in whom EPI was suspected, the following tests were performed: SPT, faecal fat analysis, faecal chymotrypsin estimation, faecal elastase 1 estimation. EPI was graded according to the results of the SPT and faecal fat analysis as absent, mild, moderate, or severe. The upper limit of normal for faecal elastase 1 was taken as 200 micrograms/g, and for faecal chymotrypsin 3 U/g stool. Levels between 3 and 6 U/g stool for faecal chymotrypsin are usually considered to be suspicious for EPI. In this study, both 3 and 6 U/g stool were evaluated as the upper limit of normal. RESULTS: Exocrine pancreatic function was normal in 34 patients, of whom 94, 91, and 79% had normal faecal elastase 1 and faecal chymotrypsin levels (< 3 U/g and < 6 U/g) respectively. Thirty patients had EPI, of whom 53, 37, and 57% had abnormal faecal enzyme levels (differences not significant). When EPI was graded as mild, moderate, or severe, 63% of patients had mild to moderate EPI, and 37% had severe EPI. In the latter group, between 73 and 91% of patients had abnormal faecal enzymes. In the group with mild to moderate EPI, abnormal test results were obtained for both faecal enzymes in less than 50% of the patients (differences not significant). Some 40% of the patients had pancreatic calcifications. There were no significant differences for either faecal enzyme between the two groups with and without pancreatic calcifications. In 62% of the patients who underwent an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), abnormal duct changes were found. Again, there were no significant differences for either faecal enzyme between the two groups with abnormal and normal ERCP. CONCLUSION: Estimation of faecal elastase 1 is not distinctly superior to the traditional faecal chymotrypsin estimation. The former is particularly helpful only in detecting severe EPI, but not the mild to moderate form, which poses the more frequent and difficult clinical problem and does not correlate significantly with the severe morphological changes seen in chronic pancreatitis.
Persistent systemic inflammatory response after stent insertion in patients with malignant bile duct obstruction.
Ballinger AB. Woolley JA. Ahmed M. Mulcahy H. Alstead EM. Landon J. Clark ML. Farthing MJ.
Digestive Diseases Research Centre, St Bartholomew's, London, UK.
BACKGROUND: Surgery in patients with malignant bile duct obstruction is associated with high postoperative morbidity and mortality. Tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) plays a key role in the pathogenesis of these complications. AIMS: To determine the effect of biliary drainage on plasma concentrations of TNF-alpha, its soluble circulating receptors (sTNFr), and other proinflammatory cytokines. METHODS: Plasma concentrations of TNF-alpha, sTNFr-P75, interleukin 6 (IL-6), and IL-1 alpha were measured in 25 patients with malignant bile duct obstruction before and after endoscopic stent insertion. RESULTS: Mean serum bilirubin was 157 mumol/l before stent insertion and 35.2 mumol/l one week post stent insertion. There was complete relief of jaundice in 77% of patients by four weeks. Plasma concentrations of TNF-alpha and IL-1 alpha were below the detection limit of the assays in all samples. Median plasma sTNFr-P75 in the cancer patients was 960 ng/l (range 400-6600), before stent insertion and remained unchanged at one and four weeks after stenting. Plasma sTNFr-P75 in cancer patients was significantly higher (p < 0.01) than in healthy controls (250 (200-650) ng/l). Before stent insertion, plasma IL-6 concentrations were detectable (above 5 ng/l) in 17 (68%) patients. After relief of biliary obstruction IL-6 levels fell from a prestent median of 13.2 to less than 5 ng/l at one week after stent insertion. Plasma concentrations of IL-6 were undetectable in 76% of patients at this time. CONCLUSION: Activation of the TNF/sTNFr complex is unchanged after biliary drainage in patients with malignant bile duct obstruction. This may explain why preoperative drainage does not influence the high morbidity and mortality associated with surgery in these patients.
Uptake, yield of neoplasia, and adverse effects of flexible sigmoidoscopy screening.
Atkin WS. Hart A. Edwards R. McIntyre P. Aubrey R. Wardle J. Sutton S. Cuzick J. Northover JM.
ICRF Colorectal Cancer Unit, St Mark's Hospital, Harrow, Middlesex, UK.
BACKGROUND: A multicentre randomised controlled trial to evaluate screening by "once only" flexible sigmoidoscopy (FS) for prevention of bowel cancer is in progress. AIMS: To pilot the trial protocol examining rates of attendance, yield of neoplasia, and adverse effects. SUBJECTS: A total of 3540 subjects aged 55-64 years in Welwyn Garden City (WGC) and 19,706 in Leicester (LE). METHODS: Subjects responding positively to an "interest in screening" questionnaire were randomised to invitation for screening or control arms. Small polyps were removed during screening. Colonoscopy was undertaken for high risk polyps (more than two adenomas, size at least 1 cm, villous histology, severe dysplasia, or malignancy). The remainder were discharged. RESULTS: In WGC and LE respectively, 59% and 61% indicated an interest in screening, of which 74% and 75% attended. Adenomas were detected in 10% and 9%, respectively, and cancers in 7 per 1000 (in both centres), 55% at Dukes's stage A. The colonoscopy referral rate was 6% in both centres. Mild, short lived bleeding occurred in 3%. One person died following surgery. CONCLUSIONS: Compliance rates, yield of adenomas, and referral rate for colonoscopy were as expected, but cancer detection rates were higher. Adverse effects following sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy were mild and transient, but there was one postoperative death. A randomised trial is necessary to evaluate fully the risks and benefits of this intervention.
Clinical significance of intrahepatic hepatitis C virus levels in patients with chronic HCV infection.
Haydon GH. Jarvis LM. Blair CS. Simmonds P. Harrison DJ. Simpson KJ. Hayes PC.
Department of Medicine, University of Edinburgh, UK.
BACKGROUND: The clinical significance of a single assessment of circulating hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA and its relation to the level of intrahepatic HCV RNA remains unclear. AIMS: To investigate the relation between intrahepatic HCV levels and clinicopathological characteristics of chronic HCV infection. PATIENTS: Ninety eight consecutive patients with chronic HCV infection were studied; none had received alpha interferon therapy. Of these, 12 patients were repeatedly negative for HCV RNA in serum by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). METHODS: After diagnostic laparoscopy and liver biopsy, semiquantitative analysis of intrahepatic HCV RNA levels was carried out by limiting dilution of HCV cDNA. HCV genotypes were assessed in 96 patients by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of HCV cDNA. RESULTS: Ten out of 12 patients who were RT-PCR negative for HCV RNA in serum were RT-PCR positive in liver; however, this group had a significantly lower intrahepatic HCV level and serum aminotransferase level than the remaining 86 patients. Histological severity (cirrhosis: n = 10); histological activity index; HCV genotype (genotype 1: n = 41; genotype 2: n = 12; genotype 3: n = 36; genotype 4: n = 7); mode of infection (intravenous drug abuse: n = 58; post-transfusion: n = 10; haemophiliac: n = 4; sporadic: n = 26) and alcohol abuse did not affect the intrahepatic virus level. There was no correlation between patient age, duration of infection, and intrahepatic HCV level. CONCLUSIONS: Intrahepatic virus levels were not determined by host factors (age of patient, mode or duration of infection) or by virus factors (HCV genotype). Repeatedly negative RT-PCR for HCV RNA in serum does not indicate absence of HCV from the liver.
Acute liver failure secondary to hepatic infiltration: a single centre experience of 18 cases.
Rowbotham D. Wendon J. Williams R.
Institute for Liver Studies, King's College Hospital, London, UK.
BACKGROUND: Acute liver failure (ALF) secondary to malignant infiltration of the liver is rare and is diagnosed often only after death. AIMS: To determine diagnostic factors and particular clinical patterns of illness. METHODS: Review of case notes from all patients with ALF secondary to hepatic infiltration admitted to this unit over an 18 year period (1978-1995). RESULTS: From a total of 4020 admissions, 18 patients were identified with ALF attributable to hepatic infiltration. Mean age was 40.7 years. Aetiology was non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in nine patients, Hodgkin's disease in three, infiltrative metastatic carcinoma in four, and haemophagocytosis with no precipitant cause in two cases. Prodromal symptoms were non-specific, but occurred at least two to four weeks before onset of ALF, making the presence of such symptoms of value in differential diagnosis of the cause of ALF. Clinical examination and investigations were unhelpful in distinguishing these cases from more usual causes of ALF. Usually, the clinical course was of rapid deterioration and death from multiorgan failure, and only one patient survived. Diagnosis was made during life in 15 patients. Histology showed evidence of widespread hepatocellular necrosis, with diffuse infiltration by tumour cells rather than focal cellular aggregation. CONCLUSIONS: Only with accurate histological diagnosis from liver biopsy and institution of specific therapy early in the management of such patients will the best chance of recovery be achieved. In every case of ALF with prodromal symptoms or abnormal imaging, hepatic histology should be obtained by liver biopsy as soon as possible to diagnose infiltrative hepatic disease.
The alpha-smooth muscle actin promoter: a useful tool to analyse autocrine and paracrine roles of mesenchymal cells in normal and diseased bowel.
Department of Physiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7545, USA.
Smooth muscle cells (SMC) of the vascular wall, bladder, myometrium, and gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts retain the ability to proliferate postnatally, which enables adaptive responses to injury, hormonal, or mechanical stimulation. SMC growth is regulated by a number of mesenchymal growth factors, including insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I). To explore the function of IGF-I on SMC in vivo, the mouse SMC alpha-actin promotor fragment SMP8 (-1074 bp, 63 bp of 5'UT and 2.5 kb of intron 1) was cloned upstream of rat IGF-I cDNA, and the fusion gene microinjected into fertilized eggs of the FVB-N mouse strain. Mating of hemizygous mice with controls produced about 50% transgenic offspring, with equal sex distribution. Transgenic IGF-I mRNA expression was confined to SMC-containing tissue, with the following hierarchy: bladder > stomach > aorta = uterus > intestine. There was no transgene expression in skeletal muscle, heart, or liver. Radioimmunoassayable IGF-I content was increased by 3.5- to 4-fold in aorta, and by almost 10-fold in bladder of transgenic mice at 5 and 10 wk, with no change in plasma IGF-I levels. Wet weight of bladder, stomach, intestine, uterus, and aorta was selectively increased, with no change in total body or carcass weight of transgenic animals. In situ hybridization showed that transgene expression was exquisitely targeted to the smooth muscle layers of the arteries, veins, bladder, ureter, stomach, intestine, and uterus. Paracine overproduction of IGF-I resulted in hyperplasia of the muscular layers of these tissues, manifesting in remarkably different phenotypes in the various SMC beds. Whereas the muscular layer of the bladder and stomach exhibited a concentric thickening, the SMC of the intestine and uterus grew in a longitudinal fashion, resulting in a marked lengthening of the small bowel and of the uterine horns. This report describes the first successful targeting of expression of any functional protein capable of modifying the phenotype of SMC in transgenic mice. IGF-I stimulates SMC hyperplasia, leading to distinct patterns of organ remodeling in the different tissue environments.
Effect of increasing the fat content but not the energy load of a meal on gastro-oesophageal reflux and lower oesophageal sphincter motor function.
Penagini R. Mangano M. Bianchi PA.
Cattedra di Gastroenterologia, University of Milan-IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore, Italy.
BACKGROUND: Although fatty foods are commonly considered detrimental in patients with reflux disease, no objective data exist that substantiate this belief. AIMS: To investigate the effect of fat on gastro-oesophageal reflux and lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) motor activity. SUBJECTS: Thirteen healthy subjects and 14 patients with reflux disease. METHODS: Oesophageal pH, LOS, and oesophageal pressures were recorded for 180 minutes after a high fat (52% fat) and a balanced (24% fat) meal (both 3.18 MJ) on two different occasions. Eight controls and seven patients were studied in the recumbent position and the others in the sitting position. RESULTS: The percentage of time at pH less than 4 and the rate of reflux episodes were higher (p < 0.01) in the patients than in the healthy subjects (mean 14.1% versus 1.7% and 4.4/h versus 0.8/h respectively), as was the percentage of transient LOS relaxations associated with reflux (62% versus 32%, p < 0.01). The high fat meal did not increase the rate of reflux episodes nor exposure to oesophageal acid in either group regardless of body posture. The rate of transient LOS relaxations, their association with reflux, and basal LOS pressure were also unaffected. CONCLUSIONS: Increasing fat intake does not affect gastro-oesophageal reflux or oesophagogastric competence for at least three hours after a meal.
Major virulence factors, VacA and CagA, are commonly positive in Helicobacter pylori isolates in Japan.
Maeda S. Ogura K. Yoshida H. Kanai F. Ikenoue T. Kato N. Shiratori Y. Omata M.
Second Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Japan.
BACKGROUND: VacA and CagA proteins have been reported to be major virulence factors of Helicobacter pylori. However, antibodies against these proteins are frequently found in the sera of Japanese patients regardless of their gastroduodenal status. AIM: To evaluate the expression of VacA and CagA proteins by H pylori strains isolated in Japan. METHODS: By using specific antibodies raised against recombinant VacA and CagA proteins, the expression of VacA and CagA was evaluated in 68 H pylori strains isolated from Japanese patients; a vacuolating assay and genotyping of the vacA gene were also used in the evaluation. The results in analysed in relation to the gastroduodenal diseases of the hosts. RESULTS: VacA and CagA proteins were expressed in 59/68 (87%) and in 61/68 (90%) isolates respectively. The vacuolating assay was positive in 57/68 (84%) isolates, indicating that most immunologically VacA positive strains produced active cytotoxin. The prevalence of infection with strains expressing CagA and positive for vacuolating activity (Type I) was very high, 54/68 (79%), irrespective of the gastroduodenal status of the host. CONCLUSION: Most H pylori isolates in Japan are positive for vacuolating cytotoxin and CagA, and thus these virulence factors cannot be used as markers to discern the risk of developing serious gastroduodenal pathologies in the hosts. However, the high prevalence of infection with strains positive for vacuolating cytotoxin and CagA may contribute to the characteristics of H pylori infection in Japan.
Oxidative DNA damage accumulation in gastric carcinogenesis.
Farinati F. Cardin R. Degan P. Rugge M. Mario FD. Bonvicini P. Naccarato R.
Cattedra Malattie Apparato Digerente, Universita di Padova, Italy.
BACKGROUND: Gastric carcinogenesis is a multifactorial, multistep process, in which chronic inflammation plays a major role. AIMS: In order to ascertain whether free radical mediated oxidative DNA damage is involved in such a process, concentrations of 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8OHdG), a mutagenic/carcinogenic adduct, and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), as an indirect measure of free radical mediated damage, were determined in biopsy specimens from patients undergoing endoscopy. PATIENTS: Eighty eight patients were divided into histological subgroups as follows: 27 with chronic non-atrophic gastritis, 41 with atrophic gastritis, six with gastric cancer, and 14 unaffected controls. METHODS: Intestinal metaplasia, Helicobacter pylori infection, and disease activity were semiquantitatively scored. 8OHdG concentrations were assessed by HPLC with electrochemical detection, and TBARS concentrations were fluorimetrically assayed. RESULTS: 8OHdG concentrations (mean number of adducts/10(5) dG residues) were significantly higher in chronic atrophic gastritis (p = 0.0009). Significantly higher concentrations were also detected in the presence of severe disease activity (p = 0.02), intestinal metaplasia (p = 0.035), and H pylori infection (p = 0.001). TBARS concentrations were also higher in atrophic gastritis, though not significantly so. In a multiple logistic regression analysis, 8OHdG concentrations correlated best with the presence and severity of H pylori infection (r = 0.53, p = 0.002). CONCLUSION: Chronic gastritis is characterised by the accumulation of oxidative DNA damage with mutagenic and carcinogenic potential. H pylori infection is the major determinant for DNA adduct formation.
Prevalence and clinical features of selective immunoglobulin A deficiency in coeliac disease: an Italian multicentre study. Italian Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology (SIGEP) and Club del Tenue Working Groups on Coeliac Disease.
Cataldo F. Marino V. Ventura A. Bottaro G. Corazza GR.
Clinica Pediatrica R, Palermo, Italy.
BACKGROUND: Selective immunoglobulin A (IgA) deficiency (SIgAD) is associated with coeliac disease (CD). AIM: To make a retrospective study of the association of SIgAD with CD in Italy. METHODS: Hospital medical records of 2098 patients consecutively diagnosed as having CD were reviewed. RESULTS: Of 2098 patients with CD, 54 (2.6%) had SIgAD, representing a 10-16-fold increase over that in the population in general. This increase was not influenced by age or geographical factors. Patients with SIgAD had a higher incidence of silent forms (7/54, 13%), recurrent infections (16/54, 29.6%), and atopic diseases (7/54, 13%) than those without. The association with autoimmune and malignant diseases and the outcome after eating a gluten free diet were similar in patients with or without SIgAD. In all patients with SIgAD, antibodies for IgA gliadin and endomysium were absent, but serum levels of IgG anti-gliadin antibodies were high in almost all of them (51/54). CONCLUSIONS: Serum IgA should be measured in order to be able to interpret negative results for IgA anti-gliadin antibodies and anti-endomysial antibodies in patients being screened for CD. Since some patients with CD and SIgAD may be negative for IgG anti-gliadin antibodies, an intestinal biopsy should be performed in all suspected cases.
Peripheral arthropathies in inflammatory bowel disease: their articular distribution and natural history.
Orchard TR. Wordsworth BP. Jewell DP.
Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Radcliffe Infirmary, UK.
BACKGROUND: Peripheral arthropathy is a well-recognised complication of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Little is known of its natural history, but a variety of joint involvement has been described, from large joint pauciarticular arthropathy to a rheumatoid pattern polyarthropathy. AIMS: To classify the peripheral arthropathies according to pattern of articular involvement, and study their natural history and clinical associations. METHODS: The case notes of all patients attending the Oxford IBD clinic were reviewed, and information on general disease characteristics, extraintestinal features, and arthropathy extracted. This was confirmed by direct patient interview using questionnaires at routine follow up. Patients with recorded joint swelling or effusion were classified as type 1 (pauciarticular) if less than five joints were involved and type 2 (polyarticular) if five or more were involved. Patients without evidence of swelling were classified as arthralgia. RESULTS: In total, 976 patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) and 483 with Crohn's disease (CD) were reviewed. Type 1 occurred in 3.6% of patients with UC (83% acute and self-limiting) and in 6.0% of those with CD (79% self-limiting); 83% and 76%, respectively, were associated with relapsing IBD. Type 2 occurred in 2.5% of patients with UC and 4.0% of those with CD; 87% and 89%, respectively, caused persistent symptoms whereas only 29% and 42%, respectively, were associated with relapsing IBD. CONCLUSION: Enteropathic peripheral arthropathy without axial involvement can be subdivided into a pauciarticular, large joint arthropathy, and a bilateral symmetrical polyarthropathy, each being distinguished by its articular distribution and natural history.
Crohns-like reaction in diverticular disease.
Gledhill A. Dixon MF.
Department of Histopathology, Harrogate General Hospital, UK.
BACKGROUND: Diverticulitis and Crohn's disease affecting the colon occur at similar sites in older individuals, and in combination are said to carry a worse prognosis than either disease in isolation. It is possible that diverticulitis may initiate inflammatory changes which resemble Crohn's disease histologically, but do not carry the clinical implications of chronic inflammatory bowel disease. AIMS: To evaluate histological features and clinical outcome in individuals initially diagnosed histologically as having both Crohn's colitis and diverticulitis. PATIENTS: Eleven consecutive individuals having a colonic resection showing histological features of both Crohn's disease and diverticulitis. METHODS: Retrospective review of histological specimens, case notes, and discharge letters. RESULTS: In nine patients, the Crohn's-like reaction was confined to the segment bearing diverticula. They had no clinical evidence of Crohn's disease. CONCLUSION: A Crohn's-like inflammatory response can be a localised reaction to diverticulitis and does not necessarily indicate chronic inflammatory bowel disease.
Functional gastrointestinal disorders: psychological, social, and somatic features.
Bennett EJ. Piesse C. Palmer K. Badcock CA. Tennant CC. Kellow JE.
Department of Gastroenterology, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia.
BACKGROUND: Psychological, social, and extraintestinal (somatic) disturbances are prominent features of functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID); little attention, however, has been given to differences in the nature of these disturbances in the various FGID subgroups. AIMS: (1) To determine whether psychological, social, and extraintestinal factors are associated with specific FGID, and/or with the overall severity and extent of FGID disturbance (the number of coexistent FGID subgroups present in any individual); and (2) to determine whether chronic social stressors link gastrointestinal, extraintestinal, and emotional symptomatologies in FGID. PATIENTS: One hundred and eighty eight outpatients, fulfilling standard criteria for one or more functional gastroduodenal or functional bowel disorders. METHODS: Utilising detailed and objective interview and questionnaire methods, detailed gastrointestinal, extraintestinal, psychological, and social data were collected. RESULTS: Chronic stressors and extraintestinal and emotional symptomatologies were prominent features of functional dyspepsia (FD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) alone. These particular features were, however, highly specific for particular FD and/or IBS subgroups. The chronic threat component of social stressors predicted the nature and extent of multisystem (gastrointestinal, extraintestinal, and emotional) symptomatology. CONCLUSIONS: Notable differences between the various FGID subgroups support the symptom based classification of FGID. Chronic stressor provoked psychological and extraintestinal disturbance is most specific for the FD-IBS group of syndromes.
Diagnostic yield of push-type enteroscopy in relation to indication.
Landi B. Tkoub M. Gaudric M. Guimbaud R. Cervoni JP. Chaussade S. Couturier D. Barbier JP. Cellier C.
Laennec Hospital, Paris, France.
BACKGROUND: Push-type enteroscopy, a recent method for investigating the small intestine, is currently undergoing assessment. Its diagnostic yield varies in the studies reported to date. AIM: To assess the diagnostic value of push-type enteroscopy according to indication. PATIENTS AND METHODS: From January 1994 to September 1995, 152 consecutive patients (mean age 34 years) underwent push-type enteroscopy (jejunoscopy, n = 93; retrograde ileoscopy, n = 17; and double way enteroscopy, n = 42). The indications were: unexplained iron deficiency anaemia or macroscopic gastrointestinal bleeding (n = 76), radiological abnormalities of the small intestine (n = 23), chronic diarrhoea and/or malabsorption syndrome (n = 18), abdominal pain (n = 12), and miscellaneous (n = 23). All patients had undergone previous negative aetiological investigations. RESULTS: The jejunum and ileum were explored through 120 cm (30-160 cm) and 60 cm (20-120 cm). Digestive bleeding: lesions of the small bowel were found in 6% of the patients with isolated iron deficiency anaemia and 20% of patients with patent digestive haemorrhage. Radiological abnormalities of the small intestine: push-type enteroscopy provided a diagnosis or modified the interpretation of radiological findings in 18/23 cases (78%). Chronic diarrhoea and/or malabsorption: push-type enteroscopy yielded explanatory findings in four cases (22%). Abdominal pain: push-type enteroscopy provided no diagnosis. CONCLUSION: In this series, push-type enteroscopy was of particular value in investigating patients with radiological abnormalities of the small intestine. It was of some value in the exploration of patent digestive haemorrhage or chronic diarrhoea, but not of abdominal pain. Its value was limited in the exploration of iron deficiency anaemia.
Compared with parenteral nutrition, enteral feeding attenuates the acute phase response and improves disease severity in acute pancreatitis.
Windsor AC. Kanwar S. Li AG. Barnes E. Guthrie JA. Spark JI. Welsh F. Guillou PJ. Reynolds JV.
Department of Surgery, St James's University Hospital, Leeds, UK.
BACKGROUND: In patients with major trauma and burns, total enteral nutrition (TEN) significantly decreases the acute phase response and incidence of septic complications when compared with total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Poor outcome in acute pancreatitis is associated with a high incidence of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and sepsis. AIMS: To determine whether TEN can attenuate the acute phase response and improve clinical disease severity in patients with acute pancreatitis. METHODS: Glasgow score, Apache II, computed tomography (CT) scan score, C reactive protein (CRP), serum IgM antiendotoxin antibodies (EndoCAb), and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) were determined on admission in 34 patients with acute pancreatitis. Patients were stratified according to disease severity and randomised to receive either TPN or TEN for seven days and then re-evaluated. RESULTS: SIRS, sepsis, organ failure, and ITU stay, were globally improved in the enterally fed patients. The acute phase response and disease severity scores were significantly improved following enteral nutrition (CRP: 156 (117-222) to 84 (50-141), p < 0.005; APACHE II scores 8 (6-10) to 6 (4-8), p < 0.0001) without change in the CT scan scores. In parenterally fed patients these parameters did not change but there was an increase in EndoCAb antibody levels and a fall in TAC. Enterally fed patients showed no change in the level of EndoCAb antibodies and an increase in TAC. CONCLUSION: TEN moderates the acute phase response, and improves disease severity and clinical outcome despite unchanged pancreatic injury on CT scan. Reduced systemic exposure to endotoxin and reduced oxidant stress also occurred in the TEN group. Enteral feeding modulates the inflammatory and sepsis response in acute pancreatitis and is clinically beneficial.
Secretory immunoglobulin A in pancreatic juice and pancreatic tissue of patients with chronic pancreatitis.
Emmrich J. Seyfarth M. Conradi P. Plath F. Sparmann G. Lohr M. Liebe S.
Department of Internal Medicine, University of Rostock, Germany.
BACKGROUND: The predominance of secretory IgA (S-IgA) in intestinal secretions compared with blood is well established, but concentrations of this protein in pancreatic juice and its origin, especially in chronic pancreatitis, are unknown. AIMS: To investigate the role of S-IgA in chronic pancreatitis. PATIENTS: Twenty one patients with chronic pancreatitis (group I), three patients with proven malignancies (group II), and 12 patients without pancreatic disease (group III). METHODS: Pure human pancreatic juice was collected endoscopically in four fractions after consecutive stimulation with secretin and cholecystokinin (CCK). Samples were analysed for S-IgA, protein, trypsinogen, and proteolytic activity. RESULTS: The S-IgA level was significant increased in fraction 1 of pancreatic juice of group I (1210 (1411) ng/ml) compared with controls (33 (70) ng/ml). Protein concentrations and trypsinogen content were lower in group I than in the other groups. Proteolytic activity could be observed in 53% of all 133 pancreatic juice samples, but in 87% of fraction 1. In pancreatic tissue of three patients with chronic pancreatitis both IgA and secretory component were detected by immunohistology. Expression of the secretory component by human pancreatic epithelial cells was increased in patients with chronic pancreatitis compared with normal controls. The concentration of S-IgA in pancreatic juice did not correlate with the serum S-IgA level. In contrast, serum levels of S-IgA were decreased in patients with chronic pancreatitis. CONCLUSION: There are high levels of S-IgA in human pancreatic juice following chronic inflammation and a protective role is suggested for this immunoglobulin.
Treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma with octreotide: a randomised controlled study.
Kouroumalis E. Skordilis P. Thermos K. Vasilaki A. Moschandrea J. Manousos ON.
Department of Gastroenterology, University Hospital, Crete, Greece.
BACKGROUND: Standard treatment of inoperable hepatocellular carcinoma has not been established. Somatostatin has been shown to possess antimitotic activity against a variety of non-endocrine tumours. AIMS: To assess the presence of somatostatin receptors in human liver and to treat advanced hepatocellular carcinoma with the somatostatin analogue, octreotide. METHODS: Somatostatin receptors were measured in liver tissue homogenates from patients with acute and chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Fifty eight patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma were randomised to receive either subcutaneous octreotide 250 micrograms twice daily, or no treatment. Groups were comparable with respect to age, sex, Okuda classification, presence of cirrhosis, and liver biochemistry and virology. RESULTS: Various amounts of somatostatin receptors were identified in liver tissue of all patients including those with hepatocellular carcinoma. Treated patients had an increased median survival (13 months versus four months, p = 0.002, log rank test) and an increased cumulative survival rate at six and 12 months (75% versus 37%, and 56% versus 13% respectively). Octreotide administration significantly reduced alpha fetoprotein levels at six months. When a multivariable Cox's proportional hazards model was fitted, variables associated with increased survival were: treatment administration, absence of cirrhosis, increased serum albumin, and small tumours. Treated patients clearly had a lower hazard (0.383) in the multivariate analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Octreotide administration significantly improves survival and is a valuable alternative in the treatment of inoperable hepatocellular carcinoma.