Article Text

PDF
Role of colonoscopic biopsy in distinguishing between Crohn’s disease and intestinal tuberculosis
  1. R Kirsch1,
  2. M Pentecost1,
  3. P de M Hall1,
  4. D P Epstein2,
  5. G Watermeyer2,
  6. P W Friederich2
  1. 1Department of Anatomical Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  2. 2Department of Gastroenterology, Faculty of Health Sciences
  1. Correspondence to:
 R Kirsch
 Department of Pathology, Mount Sinai Hospital, 600 University Arenue, Toronto, ON M5G 1X5, Canada; rkirsch{at}mtsinai.on.ca

Abstract

Background: The histological differential diagnosis of Crohn’s disease and intestinal tuberculosis can be very challenging, as both are chronic granulomatous disorders with overlapping histological features.

Aim: To evaluate selected clinical and histological parameters in colonic biopsy specimens for their ability to discriminate between Crohn’s disease and intestinal tuberculosis.

Methods: 25 patients with Crohn’s disease and 18 patients with intestinal tuberculosis were selected for this study on the basis of established clinical, radiological and histological criteria. Clinical data and selected histological parameters in colonoscopic biopsy specimens were assessed retrospectively. A total of 103 and 41 biopsy sites were evaluated in patients with Crohn’s disease and intestinal tuberculosis, respectively.

Results: Clinical parameters helpful in differentiating intestinal tuberculosis from Crohn’s disease included chest radiographic features of tuberculosis (56% v 0%), perianal fistulae (0% v 40%) and extraintestinal manifestations of Crohn’s disease (0% v 40%). Histopathological features that seemed to reliably differentiate between intestinal tuberculosis and Crohn’s disease included confluent granulomas, ⩾10 granulomas per biopsy site and caseous necrosis (in biopsy samples of 50%, 33% and 22% of patients with intestinal tuberculosis, respectively, v 0% of patients with Crohn’s disease). Features that were observed more often in patients with intestinal tuberculosis than in those with Crohn’s disease included granulomas exceeding 0.05 mm2 (67% v 8%), ulcers lined by conglomerate epithelioid histiocytes (61% v 8%) and disproportionate submucosal inflammation (67% v 10%).

Conclusion: Clinical features and selected histological parameters in colonoscopic biopsy specimens can help in differentiating between Crohn’s disease and intestinal tuberculosis.

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Footnotes

  • Competing interests: RK was the recipient of a post-doctoral research fellowship from the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. PWF was supported by a research grant from AstraZeneca BV, The Netherlands.

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.