Novel blood tests have potential for diagnosing appendicitis

July 1, 2010

Investigators tested the hypothesis that analysis of gene expression of circulating white blood cells or of plasma cytokines can be used to improve diagnostic accuracy in children being evaluated for appendicitis.

Investigators tested the hypothesis that analysis of gene expression of circulating white blood cells or of plasma cytokines can be used to improve diagnostic accuracy in children being evaluated for appendicitis. The researchers assessed 20 of 28 patients being evaluated for abdominal pain at a tertiary pediatric emergency department as a training cohort and another 8 patients as a validation (prospective) cohort.

Of the 20 patients in the training cohort, 10 had acute appendicitis on pathology. Using leukocyte gene expression profiles (riboleukograms) and plasma cytokine levels generated from blood collected at emergency department presentation, investigators identified 28 genes and 5 cytokines significantly associated with the diagnosis of appendicitis. They then tested the diagnostic potential of these genes and proteins in the validation cohort. Gene expression analysis accurately predicted appendicitis in 4 of 5 patients. Although cytokine analysis was not as accurate as gene expression analysis in predicting appendicitis, it did accurately rule out all 3 patients without appendicitis in the validation cohort (Muenzer JT, et al. Pediatr Emer Care. 2010;26[5]:333-338).

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