Concomitantly with the increase in the prevalences of overweight/obesity, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has worldwide become the main cause of chronic liver disease in both adults and children. Patients with fatty liver display features of metabolic syndrome (MetS), like insulin resistance (IR), glucose intolerance, hypertension and dyslipidemia. Recently, epidemiological studies have linked obesity, MetS, and NAFLD to decreased bone mineral density and osteoporosis, highlighting an intricate interplay among bone, adipose tissue, and liver. Osteoprotegerin (OPG), an important symbol of the receptor activator of nuclear factor-B ligand/receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B/OPG system activation, typically considered for its role in bone metabolism, may also play critical roles in the initiation and perpetuation of obesity-related comorbidities. Clinical data have indicated that OPG concentrations are associated with hypertension, left ventricular hypertrophy, vascular calcification, endothelial dysfunction, and severity of liver damage in chronic hepatitis C. Nonetheless, the relationship between circulating OPG and IR as a key feature of MetS as well as between OPG and NAFLD remains uncertain. Thus, the aims of the present review are to provide the existent knowledge on these associations and to discuss briefly the underlying mechanisms linking OPG and NAFLD.
Biliary stricture complicating living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) is a relatively common complication, occurring in most transplant centres across the world. Cases of biliary strictures are more common in LDLT than in deceased donor liver transplantation. Endoscopic management is the mainstay for biliary strictures complicating LDLT and includes endoscopic retrograde cholangiography, sphincterotomy and stent placement (with or without balloon dilatation). The efficacy and safety profiles as well as outcomes of endoscopic management of biliary strictures complicating LDLT is an area that needs to be viewed in isolation, owing to its unique set of problems and attending complications; as such, it merits a tailored approach, which is yet to be well established. The diagnostic criteria applied to these strictures are not uniform and are over-reliant on imaging studies showing an anastomotic narrowing. It has to be kept in mind that in the setting of LDLT, a subjective anastomotic narrowing is present in most cases due to a mismatch in ductal diameters. However, whether this narrowing results in a functionally significant narrowing is a question that needs further study. In addition, wide variation in the endotherapy protocols practised in most centres makes it difficult to interpret the results and hampers our understanding of this topic. The outcome definition for endotherapy is also heterogenous and needs to be standardised to allow for comparison of data in this regard and establish a clinical practice guideline. There have been multiple studies in this area in the last 2 years, with novel findings that have provided solutions to some of these issues. This review endeavours to incorporate these new findings into the wider understanding of endotherapy for biliary strictures complicating LDLT, with specific emphasis on diagnosis of strictures in the LDLT setting, endotherapy protocols and outcome definitions. An attempt is made to present the best management options currently available as well as directions for future research in the area.
Pancreatic cancer is a growing source of cancer related death, yet has poor survival rates which have not improved in the last few decades. Its high mortality rate is attributed to pancreatic cancer biology, difficulty in early diagnosis and the lack of standardised international guidelines in assessing suspicious pancreatic masses. This review aims to provide an update in the current state of play in pancreatic cancer diagnosis and to evaluate the benefits and limitations of available diagnostic technology. The main modalities discussed are imaging with computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, endoscopic ultrasound and positron emission tomography and tissue acquisition with fine needle aspiration. We also review the improvements in the techniques used for tissue acquisition and the opportunity for personalised cancer medicine. Screening of high risk individuals, promising biomarkers and common mimickers of pancreatic cancer are also explored, as well as suggestions for future research directions to allow for earlier detection of pancreatic cancer. Timely and accurate diagnosis of pancreatic cancer can lead to improvements in the current poor outcome of this disease.
Helicobacter pylori(H. pylori) eradication can reduce gastric cancer. However, gastric cancer still develops after eradication, and cases who received eradication therapy are increasing. In this study, we have reviewed the characteristics and predictors of primary gastric cancer developing afterH. pylorieradication. In terms of the characteristics, endoscopic, histologic, and molecular characteristics are reported. Endoscopically, gastric cancer after eradication is often depressed-type and shows a gastritis-like appearance, which sometimes makes the diagnosis difficult. Histologically, most gastric cancer after eradication is intestinal type, and non-neoplastic epithelium, also called epithelium with low-grade atypia, is frequently seen over the tumor, which is presumably the cause of the endoscopic gastritis-like appearance. As for molecular characteristics, some markers, such as Ki67, MUC2, and Wnt5a expression, are lower in cancer from patients in whomH. pylorihas been eradicated. In terms of predictors, several Japanese studies have reported that severe endoscopic atrophy at eradication is a risk factor for gastric cancer development. Histologic intestinal metaplasia, especially in the corpus, and long-term use of proton pump inhibitors, are also reported as risk factors for gastric cancer afterH. pylorieradication. These studies on the characteristics and predictors of gastric cancer development will become the cornerstone for establishing a novel surveillance program based on the gastric cancer risk stratification specific toH. pylori-eradicated patients.
Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) represents a generally accepted albeit somewhat controversially discussed therapeutic strategy in highly selected patients with non-resectable hepatic metastases from neuroendocrine tumours (NET). Whilst there are some exclusion criteria, these are not universally followed, and the optimal set of inclusion parameters for deeming patients eligible has not yet been elucidated. This is due to heterogeneity in the study populations, as well differing approaches employed and also divergences in selection criteria between centres. Recent data have suggested that OLT may represent the most efficacious approach in terms of overall and disease-free survival to the management of NET metastatic to the liver when conducted in accordance with the modified Milan criteria. Therefore, a consensus set of selection criteria requires definition to facilitate stringent and fair allocation of deceased-donor organs, as well as consideration for living-donor organs. In the context of classically non-resectable metastatic tumour bulk, multivisceral transplantation with or without the liver may also be indicated, yet experience is very limited. In this review, we discuss the diagnostic work-up of patients in whom the aforementioned transplantation approaches are being considered, critically analyse the published experience and also anticipate future developments in this field, including a discussion of immediate and longer-term research priorities.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the deadliest cancers, mostly due to its resistance to treatment. Of these, checkpoint inhibitors (CPI) are inefficient when used as monotherapy, except in the case of a rare subset of tumors harboring microsatellite instability (< 2%). This inefficacy mainly resides in the low immunogenicity and non-inflamed phenotype of PDAC. The abundant stroma generates a hypoxic microenvironment and drives the recruitment of immunosuppressive cells through cancer-associated-fibroblast activation and transforming growth factor β secretion. Several strategies have recently been developed to overcome this immunosuppressive microenvironment. Combination therapies involving CPI aim at increasing tumor immunogenicity and promoting the recruitment and activation of effector T cells. Ongoing studies are therefore exploring the association of CPI with vaccines, oncolytic viruses, MEK inhibitors, cytokine inhibitors, and hypoxia- and stroma-targeting agents. Adoptive T-cell transfer is also under investigation. Moreover, translational studies on tumor tissue and blood, prior to and during treatment may lead to the identification of biomarkers with predictive value for both clinical outcome and response to immunotherapy.
Two-dimensional shear wave elastography (2D-SWE) is a rapid, simple and novel noninvasive method that has been proposed for assessing hepatic fibrosis in patients with chronic liver diseases (CLDs) based on measurements of liver stiffness. 2D-SWE can be performed easily at the bedside or in an outpatient clinic and yields immediate results with good reproducibility. Furthermore, 2D-SWE was an efficient method for evaluating liver fibrosis in small to moderately sized clinical trials. However, the quality criteria for the staging of liver fibrosis are not yet well defined. Liver fibrosis is the main pathological basis of liver stiffness and a key step in the progression from CLD to cirrhosis; thus, the management of CLD largely depends on the extent and progression of liver fibrosis. 2D-SWE appears to be an excellent tool for the early detection of cirrhosis and may have prognostic value in this context. Because 2D-SWE has high patient acceptance, it could be useful for monitoring fibrosis progression and regression in individual cases. However, multicenter data are needed to support its use. This study reviews the current status and future perspectives of 2D-SWE for assessments of liver fibrosis and discusses the technical advantages and limitations that impact its effective and rational clinical use.
Esophageal atresia (EA) is one of the most common congenital digestive malformations and requires surgical correction early in life. Dedicated centers have reported survival rates up to 95%. The most frequent comorbidities after EA repair are dysphagia (72%) and gastroesophageal reflux (GER) (67%). Chronic GER after EA repair might lead to mucosal damage, esophageal stricturing, Barrett’s esophagus and eventually esophageal adenocarcinoma. Several long-term follow-up studies found an increased risk of Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal carcinoma in EA patients, both at a relatively young age. Given these findings, the recent ESPGHAN-NASPGHAN guideline recommends routine endoscopy in adults born with EA. We report a series of four EA patients who developed a carcinoma of the gastrointestinal tract: three esophageal carcinoma and one colorectal carcinoma in a colonic interposition. These cases emphasize the importance of lifelong screening of the upper gastrointestinal tract in EA patients.