Brief Article
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World J Gastrointest Endosc. Apr 16, 2014; 6(4): 137-143
Published online Apr 16, 2014. doi: 10.4253/wjge.v6.i4.137
Efficacy of SpyGlassTM-directed biopsy compared to brush cytology in obtaining adequate tissue for diagnosis in patients with biliary strictures
Johannes Wilhelm Rey, Torsten Hansen, Sebastian Dümcke, Achim Tresch, Katja Kramer, Peter Robert Galle, Martin Goetz, Marcus Schuchmann, Ralf Kiesslich, Arthur Hoffman
Johannes Wilhelm Rey, Katja Kramer, Peter Robert Galle, Martin Goetz, Marcus Schuchmann, Ralf Kiesslich, Arthur Hoffman, Department of Internal Medicine I, University Medical Center, 55131 Mainz, Germany
Johannes Wilhelm Rey, Ralf Kiesslich, Arthur Hoffman, Department of Internal Medicine, St. Mary’s Hospital, 60318 Frankfurt, Germany
Torsten Hansen, Institute of Pathology, Klinikum Lippe GmbH, 32657 Detmold, Germany
Sebastian Dümcke, Achim Tresch, Max Planck-Institute for Plant Breeding Research, 50829 Köln, Germany
Sebastian Dümcke, Achim Tresch, Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne, 50931 Köln, Germany
Martin Goetz, Department of Internal Medicine I, University Hospital of Tuebingen, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
Author contributions: Galle PR, Kiesslich R and Hoffman A designed the research; Rey JW, Katja Kramer, Goetz M, Schuchmann M, Hoffman A and Kiesslich R performed the research; Hansen T provided the histologic results; Dümcke S and Tresch A analyzed the data; Rey JW and Hoffman A wrote the manuscript.
Correspondence to: Arthur Hoffman, MD, PhD, Department of Internal Medicine, St. Mary´s Hospital Frankfurt, Richard-Wagner-Straße 14, 60318 Frankfurt, Germany.
Telephone: +49-151-11628399 Fax:+49-69-15631577
Received: December 30, 2013
Revised: March 4, 2014
Accepted: March 11, 2014
Published online: April 16, 2014

AIM: To evaluate the diagnostic yield (inflammatory activity) and efficiency (size of the biopsy specimen) of SpyGlassTM-guided biopsy vs standard brush cytology in patients with and without primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC).

METHODS: At the University Medical Center Mainz, Germany, 35 consecutive patients with unclear biliary lesions (16 patients) or long-standing PSC (19 patients) were screened for the study. All patients underwent a physical examination, lab analyses, and abdominal ultrasound. Thirty-one patients with non-PSC strictures or with PSC were scheduled to undergo endoscopic retrograde cholangiography (ERC) and subsequent peroral cholangioscopy (POC). Standard ERC was initially performed, and any lesions or strictures were localized. POC was performed later during the same session. The Boston Scientific SpyGlass SystemTM (Natick, MA, United States) was used for choledochoscopy. The biliary tree was visualized, and suspected lesions or strictures were biopsied, followed by brush cytology of the same area. The study endpoints (for both techniques) were the degree of inflammation, tissue specimen size, and the patient populations (PSC vs non-PSC). Inflammatory changes were divided into three categories: none, low activity, and high activity. The specimen quantity was rated as low, moderate, or sufficient.

RESULTS: SpyGlassTM imaging and brush cytology with material retrieval were performed in 29 of 31 (93.5%) patients (23 of the 29 patients were male). The median patient age was 45 years (min, 20 years; max, 76 years). Nineteen patients had known PSC, and 10 showed non-PSC strictures. No procedure-related complications were encountered. However, for both methods, tissues could only be retrieved from 29 patients. In cases of inflammation of the biliary tract, the diagnostic yield of the SpyGlassTM-directed biopsies was greater than that using brush cytology. More tissue material was obtained for the biopsy method than for the brush cytology method (P = 0.021). The biopsies showed significantly more inflammatory characteristics and greater inflammatory activity compared to the cytological investigation (P = 0.014). The greater quantity of tissue samples proved useful for both PSC and non-PSC patients.

CONCLUSION: SpyGlassTM imaging can be recommended for proper inflammatory diagnosis in PSC patients. However, its value in diagnosing dysplasia was not addressed in this study and requires further investigation.

Keywords: Cholangioscopy, Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, Primary sclerosing cholangitis, Brush cytology, Biopsy

Core tip: Endoscopic retrograde cholangiography remains the gold standard method for diagnosing biliary tract diseases. However, choledochoscopy with the SpyGlassTM system enables direct visualization of the biliary tract. Furthermore, targeted biopsies can be performed. In our single-center study, the diagnostic yield of SpyGlassTM-directed biopsy for inflammatory changes in primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and non-PSC patients was significantly greater than that of brush cytology. The better diagnostic yield strongly correlated with significantly greater amounts of tissue for histological evaluation.