Is a biopsy necessary in Celiac disease?

Yes, at least for now.  That is the conclusion of a recent editorial (JPGN 2012; 54: 310-11) regarding Kurpa et al (JPGN 2012; 54: 387-91).  The article by Kurpa et al discusses the utility of the ESPGHAN criteria for diagnosis of celiac disease.  Among the patients with strongly positive TTG (> 100 units), 94% had a diagnosis of Celiac disease confirmed with biopsy; in addition, this result correlated well with positive endomysial antibody and with positive DQ2/8. In those with TTG (30-99 units), Celiac disease was diagnosed in 69% of children and 86% of adults.

Additional references:

  • -JPGN 2011;52: 554. May not need to biopsy if TTG >100 & responds to GFD
  • -Clin Gastro & Hep 2011; 9: 320. Nat’l hx in children with +serology. n=106. 33% developed villous atrophy c/in 2 yrs.
  • -Gastroenterology 2010; 139: 763. Mortality NOT worsened in undiagnosed celiac dz in Olmstead County, though bone density decreased. n=129 of 16,847. (?milder cases undiagnosed)
  • -J Pediatr 2010; 157: 373, 353. Even pts w/o villous atrophy & +serology, benefited from GFD with regard to GI symptoms and serological markers.
  • -JPGN 2010; 50: 397. n=250. +association
  • -Mohamed BM, et al. The Absence of a Mucosal Lesion on Standard Histological Examination Does Not Exclude Diagnosis of Celiac Disease.  Dig Dis Sci. 2007 May 9;
  • -JPGN 2009; 49: 52. deamidated gliadin -new, accurate biomarker for celiac. n=302.
  • -Gastroenterology 2009; 137: 88. Increased mortality in undiagnosed celiac –4-fold increase. Also, increasing prevalence ~4 fold in last 50 yrs.
  • -Gastroenterology 1967; 52: 893-897. Seminal article ‘gluten as culprit in celiac’
  • -Gastroenterology 2009; 136: 816. Mild enteropathy w Celiac –still needs GFD
  • -JPGN 2008; 47: 618. duodenal bulb always abnl, n=665
  • -Clin Gastro & Hep 2008; 6: 753. Incidence of autoimmune diseases less in those compliant with diet. n=178.
  • -Clinical Gastro & Hep 2008; 6: 426. Usefulness of deamidated gliadin antibodies (about as useful as TTG). In this study with n=216 celiac pts and 124 controls, TTG had sensitivity of 78% and 98% specificity.
  • -JPGN 2007; 45: 497. ~1% of UK kids c celiac; 90% missed. Avon study (ALSPAC). n=5470 screened from cohort of 13,971
  • -NEJM 2007; 357: 1731. Nice review which suggests the introduction of gluten 4-7 months in healthy infants. HLA DQ2 present in 90-95%; HLA DQ8 in remainder. Both also present in gen population, 30-40%. Scalloping of mucosal folds often seen. Can stain bx for CD3, CD8 receptors. More refractory cases stain only for CD3 (neg for CD8).

7 thoughts on “Is a biopsy necessary in Celiac disease?

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