Published online May 16, 2023. doi: 10.4253/wjge.v15.i5.407
Peer-review started: October 2, 2022
First decision: December 1, 2022
Revised: February 5, 2023
Accepted: April 4, 2023
Article in press: April 4, 2023
Published online: May 16, 2023
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is an eosinophilic-predominant inflammation of the esophagus diagnosed by upper endoscopy and biopsies. A non-invasive and cost-effective alternative for management of EoE is being researched. Previous studies assessing utility of fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) in EoE were low powered. None investigated the contribution of eosinophilic inflammation of the stomach and duodenum to FeNO.
To assess the utility of FeNO as a non-invasive biomarker of esophageal eosinophilic inflammation for monitoring disease activity.
Patients aged 6-21 years undergoing scheduled upper endoscopy with biopsy for suspected EoE were recruited in our observational study. Patients on steroids and with persistent asthma requiring daily controller medication were excluded. FeNO measurements were obtained in duplicate using a chemiluminescence nitric oxide analyzer (NIOX MINO, Aerocrine, Inc.; Stockholm, Sweden) prior to endoscopy. Based on the esophageal peak eosinophil count (PEC)/high power field on biopsy, patients were classified as EoE (PEC ≥ 15) or control (PEC ≤ 14). Mean FeNO levels were correlated with presence or absence of EoE, eosinophil counts on esophageal biopsy, and abnormal downstream eosinophilia in the stomach (PEC ≥ 10) and duodenum (PEC ≥ 20). Wilcoxon rank-sum test, Spearman correlation, and logistic regression were used for analysis. P value < 0.05 was considered significant.
We recruited a total of 134 patients, of which 45 were diagnosed with EoE by histopathology. The median interquartile range FeNO level was 17 parts per billion (11-37, range: 7-81) in the EoE group and 12 parts per billion (8-19, range: 5-71) in the control group. After adjusting for atopic diseases, EoE patients had significantly higher FeNO levels as compared to patients without EoE (Z = 3.33, P < 0.001). A weak yet statistically significant positive association was found between the number of esophageal eosinophils and FeNO levels (r = 0.30, P < 0.005). On subgroup analysis within the EoE cohort, higher FeNO levels were noted in patients with abnormal gastric (n = 23, 18 vs 15) and duodenal eosinophilia (n = 28, 21 vs 14); however, the difference was not statistically significant.
After ruling out atopy as possible confounder, we found significantly higher FeNO levels in the EoE cohort than in the control group.
Core Tip: Multiple endoscopies are required as a part of diagnosis and surveillance in pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). We assessed fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO)’s role as a non-invasive marker to aid in management of EoE. FeNO may have a role in a subset of pediatric EoE patients to indicate response to therapy. This could potentially be used as an adjunct in pediatric EoE.