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Meta-analysis of Histological Margin Positivity in the Prediction of Recurrence After Crohn’sResection


Despite significant advances in the medical management of Crohn’s disease, many patients will require intestinal resection during their lifetime. It is disappointing that many will also develop disease recurrence.


The current study utilizes meta-analytical techniques to determine the effect of positive histological margins at the time of index resection on disease recurrence.


Embase, Medline, PubMed, PubMed Central, and Cochrane databases were searched using a Boolean search algorithm for articles published up to August 2017.


Meta-analysis was performed using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines.


Databases were searched for studies reporting the outcomes for patients with Crohn’s disease undergoing primary resection that correlated resection margin status with disease recurrence. Results were reported as pooled ORs with 95% CI.


A total of 176 citations were reviewed; 18 studies comprising 1833 patients were ultimately included in the analysis, with a mean rate of histopathological margin positivity of 41.7 ± 17.4% and a pooled mean follow-up of 69 ± 39 months.

Histopathological margin positivity was associated with a higher rate of overall recurrence (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.3−2.1; p < 0.001), clinical recurrence (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.0−2.8; p = 0.04), and anastomotic recurrence (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.0−2.3; p = 0.03). In studies reporting plexitis specifically at the resection margin, there was an increase in recurrence (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.1−4.9; p = 0.02).


The definitions of histological margin positivity and postoperative recurrence vary between the studies and follow-up durations vary.


The presence of involved histological margins at the time of index resection in Crohn’s disease is associated with recurrence, and plexitis shows promise as a marker of more aggressive disease. Further studies with homogeneity of histopathological and recurrence reporting are required.

Ryan JM, Rogers AC, O’Toole A, Burke JP.

Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, July 2019, Volume 62, Issue 7, pp 882−892

doi: 10.1097/DCR.1 407

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