Poor diagnostic value of colonic CD44v6 expression and serum concentrations of its soluble form in the differentiation of ulcerative colitis from Crohn's disease
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BACKGROUND: Increased expression of CD44v6 on colonic crypt epithelial cells in ulcerative colitis has been suggested as a diagnostic tool to distinguish ulcerative colitis from colonic Crohn's disease. AIMS: To investigate colonic CD44v6 expression and serum concentrations of soluble CD44v6 (sCD44v6) in patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. METHODS: Colonic biopsy samples were obtained from 16 patients with ulcerative colitis, 13 with ileocolonic Crohn's disease, and 10 undergoing polypectomy. Serum samples were obtained from 15 patients with active ulcerative colitis, 20 with active Crohn's disease, and 20 healthy donors. Colonic CD44v6 expression was evaluated immunohistochemically by monoclonal antibody 2F10 and the higher affinity monoclonal antibody VFF18. Serum sCD44v6 concentrations were measured by ELISA. RESULTS: 2F10 stained colonic epithelium of inflamed ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease samples in 80% and 40% of cases, respectively, and VFF18 in 95% and 87%, respectively. Both monoclonal antibodies displayed a sensitivity and specificity of 60% and 87% to differentiate ulcerative colitis from colonic Crohn's disease. Serum concentrations of sCD44v6 were lower in patients with ulcerative colitis (median 153 ng/ml; interquartile range (IQR) 122-211) compared with Crohn's disease (219; IQR 180-243) and healthy donors (221; IQR 197-241 (p = 0.002)). Its sensitivity and specificity to discriminate ulcerative colitis from Crohn's disease was 75% and 71%, respectively. CONCLUSION: Colonic CD44v6 and serum sCD44v6 concentrations do not facilitate reliable differential diagnosis between ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
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