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Distinguishing Ménétrier's disease from its mimics
  1. Amy Rich1,
  2. Tania Zuluaga Toro2,
  3. Jarred Tanksley3,
  4. William H Fiske1,
  5. Christopher D Lind1,
  6. Gregory D Ayers4,
  7. Hubert Piessevaux5,
  8. Mary K Washington2,
  9. Robert J Coffey1
  1. 1Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  2. 2Department of Pathology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  3. 3Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  4. 4Department of Biostatistics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  5. 5Gastroenterology Department, Cliniques Universitaires St-Luc Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Robert Coffey, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Nashville Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA; robert.coffey{at}


Objective Ménétrier's disease (MD) is a rare hypertrophic gastropathy characterised by giant rugal folds, hypochlorhydria, protein loss and a classic constellation of symptoms (nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and peripheral oedema). It is considered a clinical diagnosis that may at times be difficult to establish. Firm diagnostic criteria for MD are proposed by delineating the clinicopathological features that best differentiate MD from its mimics.

Method 48 patients referred to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for consideration of enrolment in a clinical trial of treatment of patients with MD with cetuximab were evaluated for a definitive diagnosis by assessing the clinical presentation, pertinent laboratory values and histopathological features.

Results MD was confirmed in 25 of the 48 patients (52%). The remaining 23 patients were considered to be mimics of MD, the most common diagnoses being gastric polyps or polyposis syndromes (13/23, 57%). Gastric slides were available from 40 of the 48 patients for detailed histological analysis (22/25 MD and 18/23 non-MD). Foveolar hyperplasia, glandular tortuosity and dilation, and a marked reduction in parietal cell number were present in all 22 cases of MD. Lamina propria smooth muscle hyperplasia and oedema characterised most cases (18/22 and 19/22, respectively). More than half had prominent eosinophils (11/22) and/or plasma cells (12/22) in the lamina propria. The clinical presentation of patients with MD was characterised by significantly younger age of onset, male predominance and increased vomiting compared with non-MD patients, and a lower prevalence of anaemia compared with MD patients with polyps. There was a trend towards increased frequency of peripheral oedema in patients with MD compared with non-MD patients.

Conclusions MD is most accurately diagnosed by clinicohistopathological analysis including oesophagogastroduodenoscopy with gastric pH, appropriate laboratory tests (complete blood count, serum albumin, serum gastrin, Helicobacter pylori and cytomegalovirus serology) and full-thickness mucosal biopsy of the involved gastric mucosa.

  • Ménétrier
  • Juvenile Polyposis syndrome
  • hyperplastic polyps
  • gastric cancer

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  • Funding NIH grants R01 CA 046413 and GI SPORE NCI P50 095103 to RJC and T32 GM07347 to JT. RJC acknowledges the generous support of the Peter Powell Memorial Fund.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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