Accuracy, safety, and tolerability of tissue collection by Cytosponge vs endoscopy for evaluation of eosinophilic esophagitis

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015 Jan;13(1):77-83.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2014.06.026. Epub 2014 Jul 3.


Background & aims: Management of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) requires repeated endoscopic collection of mucosal samples to assess disease activity and response to therapy. An easier and less expensive means of monitoring of EoE is required. We compared the accuracy, safety, and tolerability of sample collection via Cytosponge (an ingestible gelatin capsule comprising compressed mesh attached to a string) with those of endoscopy for assessment of EoE.

Methods: Esophageal tissues were collected from 20 patients with EoE (all with dysphagia, 15 with stricture, 13 with active EoE) via Cytosponge and then by endoscopy. Number of eosinophils/high-power field and levels of eosinophil-derived neurotoxin were determined; hematoxylin-eosin staining was performed. We compared the adequacy, diagnostic accuracy, safety, and patient preference for sample collection via Cytosponge vs endoscopy procedures.

Results: All 20 samples collected by Cytosponge were adequate for analysis. By using a cutoff value of 15 eosinophils/high power field, analysis of samples collected by Cytosponge identified 11 of the 13 individuals with active EoE (83%); additional features such as abscesses were also identified. Numbers of eosinophils in samples collected by Cytosponge correlated with those in samples collected by endoscopy (r = 0.50, P = .025). Analysis of tissues collected by Cytosponge identified 4 of the 7 patients without active EoE (57% specificity), as well as 3 cases of active EoE not identified by analysis of endoscopy samples. Including information on level of eosinophil-derived neurotoxin did not increase the accuracy of diagnosis. No complications occurred during the Cytosponge procedure, which was preferred by all patients, compared with endoscopy.

Conclusions: In a feasibility study, the Cytosponge is a safe and well-tolerated method for collecting near mucosal specimens. Analysis of numbers of eosinophils/high-power field identified patients with active EoE with 83% sensitivity. Larger studies are needed to establish the efficacy and safety of this method of esophageal tissue collection. number: NCT01585103.

Keywords: Comparison; Eosinophilia; Inflammation; Response to Treatment.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Endoscopy / adverse effects*
  • Endoscopy / methods*
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurotoxins / analysis
  • Pathology / methods*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Specimen Handling / adverse effects*
  • Specimen Handling / methods*
  • Staining and Labeling / methods
  • Young Adult


  • Neurotoxins

Associated data