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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2018 Apr;66(4):645-650. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000001773.

Celiac Disease Diagnosis Without Biopsy: Is a 10× ULN Antitransglutaminase Result Suitable for a Chemiluminescence Method?

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Clinical Chemistry Laboratory.
Pathological Anatomy, Department of Clinical Pathology.
Pediatric Hepatology, Gastroenterology and Transplantation.
Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy Units, Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital, Bergamo, Italy.



2012 European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition guidelines allow to establish a celiac disease diagnosis without duodenal biopsy in symptomatic pediatric patients with antitissue transglutaminase (anti-tTG) titers >10 times the upper limit of normal. For some years now, new chemiluminescence immunoassays have been made available: it is important to establish the clinical performance of anti-tTG and to determine the cut-off best suited to predict Marsh ≥2 to avoid gastrointestinal endoscopy not only in children, but also in the adult population.


A total of 2565 patients performed duodenal biopsy from July 2012 to September 2016; we selected all the patients who had undergone QUANTA Flash anti-tTG immunoglobulin A (IgA) within -3 months of duodenal biopsy and before the start of gluten-free diet. A total of 827 patients fulfilled the criteria for selection.


Using a cut-off of 20 chemiluminescent unit (CU; area under the curve: 0.995), sensitivity, specificity, positive, and negative predictive value were 98.2%, 98.4%, 97.9%, and 98.6%, respectively. For the correlation with Marsh ≥2, in the pediatric population, positive predictive values (PPV) were 92.1%, 99%, and 100% at 200 CU (10×), 560 CU (28×), and 1000 CU (50×), respectively. In the adult population PPV was 94.2%, 98.2%, and 100% at 200 CU (10×), 350 CU (15×), and 400 CU (20×).


Sensitivity, specificity, positive, and negative predictive value of QUANTA Flash h-tTG IgA were excellent. The cut-off providing an optimized PPV for histological lesions compatible for celiac disease (Marsh ≥2) for the QUANTA Flash h-tTG IgA is 350 CU (15×) in adult and 560 CU (28×) in children.

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