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.