The Diagnostic Yield of Site and Symptom-Based Biopsies for Acute Gastrointestinal Graft-Versus-Host Disease: A 5-Year Retrospective Review.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) complicates half of hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HCT), and the gastrointestinal tract is commonly affected. Endoscopic biopsies have a key role in the diagnosis. The optimal procedure(s) to perform and site(s) to biopsy remain unclear. METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed the charts of all adult patients who underwent allogeneic HCT at Duke University Medical Center between 1/1/05 and 1/1/11 and extracted data from those who underwent endoscopic biopsy for suspected GVHD. All histology was re-evaluated by blinded pathologists using 2006 NIH diagnostic criteria and then compared to the original clinical diagnosis of GVHD. RESULTS: A total of 169 adult patients underwent 250 endoscopic procedures to evaluate GVHD. The sensitivity of biopsies for clinical GVHD was 76 and 72% for upper and lower tract sites, respectively. In the presence of nausea, upper tract biopsies were positive for GVHD in 65%, 70% while lower tract biopsies were positive in 61-70%. In the presence of diarrhea, lower tract biopsies were positive in 65%, while upper tract sites were positive in 64-69%. Twenty six (40%) of the sixty-five endoscopies that simultaneously sampled upper and lower tract sites had discordant results. All were histologically positive for GVHD, yet 15% of upper tract biopsies and 25% of lower tract biopsies were negative. CONCLUSIONS: In this large review, the overall sensitivity of biopsies taken during EGD and Flex-Sig was 76 and 72%, respectively. A symptom-driven biopsy approach was not clearly supported as upper tract and lower tract biopsies were similarly diagnostic for GVHD regardless of symptoms.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wild, D; Sung, AD; Cardona, D; Cirricione, C; Sullivan, K; Detweiler, C; Shealy, M; Balmadrid, B; Rowes, KL; Chao, N; Piryani, S; Karimabad, HM; Martin, P; Poleski, M

Published Date

  • March 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 61 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 806 - 813

PubMed ID

  • 26537485

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4949071

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-2568

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10620-015-3938-8


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States