Proton pump inhibitor-responsive esophageal eosinophilia: still a valid diagnosis?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To update rapidly evolving concepts regarding the controversial entity of ‘proton pump inhibitor (PPI)-responsive esophageal eosinophilia,’ referring to patients with clinical, endoscopic and histologic features of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) who achieve remission on PPI therapy.

Recent findings

Up to half of pediatric and adult patients with typical EoE symptoms and histology achieve clinico-pathologic remission on PPI therapy, irrespective of whether esophageal pH monitoring demonstrates abnormal acid reflux. In patients with clinical and histologic features of EoE, genotypic and phenotypic features of PPI responders and nonresponders are virtually indistinguishable, and different from those of patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease. In PPI responders, PPIs effects on esophageal Th2 inflammation and gene expression are similar to those of topical steroids in PPI nonresponders. These therapies, along with diets, recently have been shown to be potentially interchangeable in two small series.

Summary

Proton pump inhibitor-responsive esophageal eosinophilia is an inappropriate disease descriptor, arbitrarily based on a response to a single drug, and should be abandoned. Patients who have esophageal eosinophilia and esophageal symptoms that resolve with PPI therapy have phenotypic, molecular, mechanistic, and therapeutic features indistinguishable from similar patients who do not respond to PPIs. These patients with PPI responsiveness should be considered within the spectrum of EoE.

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