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Is revision of cutoff values needed when using CD3 immunohistochemical staining in histopathologic diagnosis of lymphocytic colitis?

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Lymphocytic colitis (LC) and LC incomplete (LCi) are common causes of chronic watery diarrhea. The diagnosis relies on clinical findings and histopathologic evaluation. The diagnostic criteria of LC are based on hematoxylin and eosin (HE) staining. However, supplementary immunohistochemical staining for highlighting the lymphocytes in borderline cases is now widely used. This change in diagnostics could lead to incorrectly diagnosing patients with LC and LCi if the present histologic criteria are used. The number of intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) was estimated and categorized in intervals based on HE- versus CD3-stained slides from patients with an HE diagnosis of normal colonic mucosa (n = 19), mucosa with nonspecific reactive changes (n = 24), LCi (n = 24), and LC (n = 40). The number of IELs was compared with clinical symptoms. Overall, the number of IELs was higher with CD3 stain compared with HE stain in 73% of cases, unchanged in 26% of cases, and lower in 1 case. The number of IELs detected was higher using the CD3 stain in 53%, 79%, 79%, and 75% of cases included as normal colonic mucosa, nonspecific reactive changes, LCi, and LC, respectively. Based on CD3 stain, 58% of the cases with nonspecific reactive changes fulfilled the HE criteria for LCi, and 79% of the cases with LCi fulfilled the HE criteria for LC. Automated image analysis of CD3-stained slides resulted in even higher numbers of IELs in all 4 diagnostic groups. Conclusively, our data support considering increased cutoff values for LCi and LC when assessed in CD3-stained specimens.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Pathology
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • CD3, Cutoff values, Immunohistochemistry, Lymphocytic colitis, Lymphocytic colitis incomplete, Microscopic colitis

ID: 55338778