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Coeliac disease, gluten-free diet, and malignancy.
  1. G K Holmes,
  2. P L Stokes,
  3. T M Sorahan,
  4. P Prior,
  5. J A Waterhouse,
  6. W T Cooke


    Two hundred and two patients with coeliac disease or idiopathic steatorrhoea previously reported from this unit have been reviewed after a further 10 years of follow-up. Of 20 more deaths, 10 were due to malignancy. A separate study was made of all patients with histologically confirmed coeliac disease seen to the end of 1972 and followed up to the end of 1974. Twenty-one of the 43 deaths in this series were due to malignant tumours, of which 13 were reticulum cell sarcomas. There was no evidence that patients showing sub-optimal clinical response to gluten withdrawal or persisting falt jejunal biopsies were more prone to die of cancer. A gluten-free diet did not appear to be effective in preventing malignant complications, but a longer follow-up of patients will be necessary to provide a final answer to this question.

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