Conference Coverage

Hot topics


K. Rajender Reddy, MD, discussed the management of hepatitis B virus reactivation (HBVr), which can occur in the setting of treatment with immunosuppressive or direct-acting antiviral agents, HIV, or organ transplant. He discussed the mechanisms by which HBVr occurs despite serologic evidence of viral clearance, and he reviewed the American Gastroenterological Association Institute’s 2015 Clinical Decision Support Tool on managing HBVr. In patients treated with anti-TNF therapy, HBVr was seen almost exclusively in HBsAg+ patients and not HBsAg–/anti-HBc+ patients. Data supports HBV screening prior to starting anti–tumor necrosis factor therapy and prophylactic antiviral therapy for HBsAg-positive patients, Dr. Reddy explained.

Allison R. Schulman, MD, MPH then discussed endoscopic bariatric therapy for obesity. When he spoke about gastric interventions, he said that, although space-occupying devices have been shown to reduce weight and resolve comorbidities, they are more likely to be removed early because of intolerance and can be associated with serious adverse events (in less than 0.1%). He also said that endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty has been associated with significant weight loss and a beneficial effect on comorbidities and aspiration therapy has been associated with a 20%-25% total body weight loss over 1-2 years. With regard to small-bowel interventions, Dr. Schulman discussed sleeves and liners, mucosal resurfacing therapy, anastomosis and enteral diversion, and flow-altering therapy, none of which are Food and Drug Administration–approved. Endoscopic bariatric therapy options of both types fill a gap between medications and surgery, Dr. Schulman concluded, and are reversible, repeatable, and cost-effective and can be used in combination.

Neil H. Stollman, MD, AGAF, reviewed the role of fecal microbial transplantation (FMT) in gastrointestinal disorders and the variety of ways in which FMT can be administered. One of its main uses is for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (rCDI); this is the only indication for which the FDA will not require an investigational new drug permit. Dr. Stollman discussed current guidelines for FMT and said that systematic reviews have demonstrated that FMT has an overall cure rate of 85%-90% for rCDI with no or few adverse events. He recommended not resuming vancomycin after FMT and not retesting for rCDI unless the patient has suggestive symptoms. Currently, he noted, more than 180 clinical trials are studying the efficacy of FMT in other diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and liver disease.

Fasiha Kanwal, MD, MSHS, AGAF, who is editor in chief of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, presented the top three clinical papers published in that journal or in the journal Gastroenterology. The first paper, titled “Chromoendoscopy for surveillance in ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease: A systematic review of randomized trials” (Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 Nov;15[11]:1684-97), found that chromoendoscopy identifies more patients with dysplasia when compared with standard-definition, white-light endoscopy. There was no direct evidence, however, of an effect on all-cause or cancer-specific mortality.

The second paper, “Efficacy and safety of mycophenolate mofetil and tacrolimus as second-line therapy for patients with autoimmune hepatitis” (Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 Dec;15[12]:1950-6), showed that both agents were generally well tolerated and that they were equally effective in patients who had responded completely to standard therapy but could not tolerate it. In nonresponders to standard therapy, tacrolimus was more effective.

Dr. Lin Chang, UCLA GI fellowship program

Dr. Lin Chang

Dr. Kanwal’s study entitled, “Risk of hepatocellular cancer in HCV patients treated with direct-acting antiviral agents” (Gastroenterology. 2017 Oct;153[4]:996-1005) was the third paper. This study found that sustained virologic response (SVR) resulted in a considerable reduction in the risk of HCC. However, the absolute risk of HCC was high in some patients who achieved sustained virologic response, including about 40% who had already progressed to cirrhosis, she said.

This is a summary provided by the moderator of one of the AGA Postgraduate Course sessions held at DDW 2018. Dr. Chang is the vice-chief of the Vatche and Tamar Manounkian division of digestive diseases, the program director of University of California, Los Angeles, GI fellowship program, the codirector of G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, and a professor of medicine at UCLA. She is on the advisory board for Synergy, IM HealthSciences, and Salix; an adviser for and ModifyHealth; and a speaker for Allergan and Takeda.

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