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J Gastrointest Surg. 2006 Jul-Aug;10(7):1060-4.

Anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies are associated with the development of postoperative fistulas following ileal pouch-anal anastomosis.

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  • 1Section of Gastroenterology, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA.


Although serologic testing for perinuclear antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (pANCA) and anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies (ASCA) is reportedly useful in distinguishing ulcerative colitis (UC) from Crohn's disease (CD), there are few and conflicting reports assessing their utility in predicting postoperative complications after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA). We examined the associations between postoperative complications such as pouchitis or fistulas and pANCA and ASCA antibodies in a group of patients who underwent IPAA for UC. We conducted a retrospective chart review of 34 patients initially diagnosed with UC (four of these patients had a diagnosis of indeterminate colitis) who underwent IPAA by a single surgeon, and who had pANCA and ASCA antibody levels measured during their clinical course. Study patients were assigned to four groups based on the pattern of antibody reactivity: pANCA+/ASCA- (16 patients), pANCA-/ASCA+ (nine patients), pANCA+/ASCA+ (five patients), and pANCA-/ASCA- (four patients). The median length of follow-up was 16 months (3-144 months). None of the patients (0 of 16) who were pANCA+/ASCA- had their preoperative diagnosis of UC changed after a median follow-up of 14 months (3-118 months). Of the nine patients with a preoperative diagnosis of UC who were pANCA-/ASCA+, four patients (44%) had their diagnosis changed postoperatively to CD based on clinical findings, with a median follow-up: 15 months (5-98 months). Of 16 patients who underwent IPAA and who were pANCA+/ASCA-, 15 of 16 (93.75%), were free of fistulas postoperatively, with a median follow-up of 14 months (3-118 months). Of nine patients with a preoperative diagnosis of UC who underwent IPAA and who were pANCA-/ASCA+, four of nine (44%; p = 0.04) developed fistulas postoperatively, with a median length of follow-up of 55 months (15-67 months). No relationship between serologic profiles or antibody titer levels and the development of pouchitis was identified. In a cohort of patients undergoing IPAA for UC, serologic profiles may be useful in identifying patients at risk of postoperative fistula formation. Patients who were pANCA-/ASCA+ were at increased risk for the development of fistulas postoperatively compared to patients who were pANCA+/ASCA-, and were also more likely to have their diagnosis changed postoperatively to CD. A larger study is needed to validate these observations.

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