Editor-in-Chief, Deputy Editor 2017-2019





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Original articles

A non-interventional phase IV Belgian survey to assess the antiviral effectiveness of pegylated interferon-alpha-2b and ribavirin treatment according to the stage of liver fibrosis in previously untreated patients with genotype 1/4/5/6 chronic hepatitis C

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Background and study aims : This was an observational, non-interventional, multicenter, phase IV study, in patients with genotype 1/4/5/6 chronic hepatitis C (CHC). The primary objectives were to evaluate SVR in patients with no or minimal fibrosis (METAVIR F0-F1) versus well established fibrosis (F2-F4), and to estimate response on Weeks 12, 24 and 48 on treatment in previously untreated patients with genotypes 1/4/5/6 CHC. Patients and methods : 538 patients treated with pegylated interferon alfa 2b 1.5 mcg/kg in combination with ribavirin 800- 1200 mg/day were enrolled in 55 sites in Belgium and Luxembourg, 505 being considered for the analysis. 40% of the patients were female and 60% male, the average age was 47.5 years, 10.5% were 65 or older. Results : SVR was observed in 35% of the patients, EVR in 68%, of which pEVR in 33% and cEVR in 35%. SVR was observed in 43% of the low fibrosis group (F0, F1) and 30% of the high fibrosis group (F2, F3, F4) (p = 0.005). SVR rates were 34% for genotype 1, 37% for genotype 4, and 47% for genotype 5 (NS). Multivariate analysis showed that EVR and baseline METAVIR score are independent prognostic factors for SVR. Conclusions : This trial confirms that fibrosis stage and early viral response are the most important key-factors to predict sustained response, suggesting that the earlier patients are treated, the better the outcome. Non-invasive techniques enable us to closely monitor progression of fibrosis, allowing a better selection of patients for antiviral treatment in the DAA-era. (Acta gastroenterol. belg., 2014, 77, 393-400). [Product Details...]

Diagnostic value of carcinoembryonic antigen in malignancy-related ascites : systematic review and meta-analysis

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Background and study aims : There is a common misconception that malignant ascites is equivalent to peritoneal carcinomatosis. It seems that malignancy-related ascites is a more appropriate description of malignant ascites, which is difficult to confirm. Carcinoembryonic antigen, a glycoprotein tumor marker shed by malignant cells, increases in a wide range of gastrointestinal malignancies. We carried out the current meta-analysis to determine carcinoembryonic antigen accuracy in the diagnosis of malignancyrelated ascites. Patients and methods : Pudmed/Medline and SCOPUS were searched using these search terms : malignan* AND ascites AND (CEA OR carcinoembryonic). The outcome of interest was carcinoembryonic antigen accuracy in the differentiation of malignancyrelated ascites and nonmalignant ascites. Results : Seven studies were included in this systematic review. Pooled diagnostic indices using random-effects model were as follows : sensitivity 43.1% [381-48.3] ; specificity 95.5% [93-97.3] ; LR+ (positive likelihood ratio) 7.33 [4.58-11.73] ; LR- (negative likelihood ratio) 0.6 [0.54-0.68] ; and DOR (diagnostic odds ratio) 12.93 [7.58-22]. Conclusions : Carcinoembryonic antigen of the ascitic fluid does not seem to be sensitive enough to diagnose malignancy-related ascites. However, due to high specificity, the positive predictive value of this marker is high and the higher the level of carcinoembryonic antigen, the more likely it is to be malignancy-related. Nevertheless, a negative test result cannot definitely rule out the malignancy. (Acta gastroenterol. belg., 2014, 77, 418-424). [Product Details...]

Endoscopic findings in case of incidental colonic uptake in PET-CT. How to improve PET-CT specificity ?

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Unexpected colonic 18FDG focal uptakes (UCFU) in PET CT occur in 1.3–3.3% of cases in retrospective study and are often associated with significant colorectal findings in endoscopy, especially neoplastic lesions. The purpose of our prospective study was to evaluate the significance of UCFU and to assess criteria improving PET CT specificity for advanced adenoma and neoplasia. This study was conducted in a single institution from April 2012 to September 2013. In the 2904 patients who benefit from PET CT, 52 had an UCFU and 43 were referred for colonoscopy. After endoscopy, 8 examinations showed no colonic abnormality (18.6%), 7 showed benign lesion (16.3%), 18 showed advanced adenoma (42.9%) and 10 showed carcinoma (23.3%). There were more false positives results in the proximal colon compared to distal colon. Eighteen patients had UCFU and tomodensitometric abnormalities in the same colonic area. This pathological combination was strongly associated to the diagnosis of malignancy. Comparing standardized uptake values (SUV), we showed statistically significant difference between the adenocarcinoma and advanced adenoma groups and a difference at the margin of statistical significance between adenocarcinoma and benign lesion groups. Any cut off value could be determined. In conclusion, we confirmed that UCFU are often associated to endoscopic findings and neoplastic lesions and justify systematic endoscopic exploration. Considering the fragility of oncologic patients, criteria improving PET CT specificity are needed to select endoscopies which should be performed quickly from those who could be delayed. We showed that associated tomodensitometric abnormality and high focal FDG activity are more predictive of a neoplastic lesion. (Acta gastroenterol. belg., 2014, 77, 413-417). [Product Details...]

Hematologic indices improve with eradication of HCV in patients with cirrhosis and predict decompensation

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Background : Abnormal hematological indices (HI) are common in cirrhosis from hepatitis C virus (HCV). Eradication of HCV may ameliorate these abnormalities. The objectives of the current study were to assess whether HI improve with HCV eradication and whether they can predict prognosis in patients with cirrhosis during and after completion of antiviral therapy. Methods : A retrospective cohort study of 153 patients with HCV cirrhosis treated with Peg-interferon and ribavirin was conducted. The primary endpoint was improvement in HI after successful antiviral therapy. The secondary outcome was clinical decompensation during and after completion of antiviral therapy and association with HI. A repeated measures 2-way ANOVA was performed to compare means. Multivariate analysis was used to identify predictors of clinical decompensation. Results : One hundred fifty three patients met study criteria. The rate of sustained virological rate was 26%. Median follow-up was 55 months. Platelet and WBC counts improved with HCV eradication compared to those in whom treatment was unsuccessful (p [Product Details...]

Investigation of risk factors predicting recurrence of colonic diverticular hemorrhage and development of a recurrence risk score

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Aim : Colonic diverticular hemorrhage often recurs. Several studies have identified risk factors for recurrence, but to our knowledge, none have focused on risk factors in the clinical situation. The present study aimed to identify risk factors for the recurrence of hemorrhage and to create a recurrence risk score. Method : Hospitalized patients diagnosed with diverticular bleeding from 2008 to 2013 (N = 151) were included in a retrospective cohort study. Risk factors predicting re-bleeding were identified using multivariate analysis, and a risk score was developed using receiver operator characteristic (ROC) analysis. Results : Recurrence was identified in 52 patients (34.4%) at a median interval of 11.5 months. A history of hypertension and hyperlipidemia, a faster heart rate on admission, and longer hospitalization period were significant risk factors for re-bleeding. We developed a re-bleeding risk score by using these 4 factors ; the area under the curve of ROC curve was 0.8. With this risk score, if the cut-off point is 7, then the sensitivity is very high (94% ; specificity : 26%) ; if the cutoff point is 14, the specificity is very high (97% ; sensitivity : 40%). This enables the division of patients into 3 groups : high risk, intermediate risk, and low risk. Conclusion : Colonic diverticular hemorrhage often recurs, and patients have high recurrence rates within short periods. Risk factors for re-bleeding include a history of hypertension and hyperlipidemia, faster heart rate, and longer hospitalization period, and the risk score may supply useful information for clinicians to aid management. (Acta gastroenterol. belg., 2014, 77, 408-412). [Product Details...]

Pretreatment serum interferon gamma inducible protein-10 as biomarker of fibrosis and predictor of virological response in genotype 4 hepatitis C virus infection

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Objective : Assess the value of baseline interferon-γ-inducible protein-10 (IP-10) levels as a noninvasive maker of liver fibrosis and as a predictor of response to interferon therapy in HCV genotype 4 infected patients. Methods : Eighty-four HCV genotype 4 infected patients were enrolled in this study. Degrees of liver fibrosis were determined and baseline IP-10 was measured in serum samples collected prior to initiation of treatment using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Patients were followed up for 1.5 year to assess their response to antiviral therapy. Results : The baseline IP-10 levels were significantly correlated with the degree of fibrosis and had the ability to differentiate between patients with mild, moderate and advanced stages of fibrosis (F0-1 : 95.24 ± 33.08 pg/ml, n = 25 ; F2 : 158.70 ± 52.74 pg/ml, n = 37 ; F3-4 : 357.45 ± 162.18 pg/ml, n = 22 ; P e with moderate and advanced fibrosis. (Acta gastroenterol. belg., 2014, 77, 401-407). [Product Details...]

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