Cord colitis syndrome (CCS) is a recently proposed clinical entity characterized by a persistent diarrheal illness after cord blood transplantation (CBT), which is not caused by GVHD or CMV colitis. CCS is histologically characterized by chronic active colitis with granulomatous inflammation and Paneth cell metaplasia suggesting chronicity. However, the specificity of these pathological features to CCS remains to be validated. We conducted a retrospective study of 49 patients who had diarrhea and underwent diagnostic colonoscopy with biopsy following allogeneic hematopoietic SCT. None of the patients met the clinical criteria for CCS. Chronic active colitis with granulomatous inflammation and Paneth cell metaplasia was present in 12/33 (36%) patients with biopsy-proven GVHD, 4/6 (67%) patients with CMV colitis and 2/15 (13%) patients with nonspecific colitis. In patients with GVHD and/or CMV colitis, these pathological features were present in 4/8 (50%) patients after CBT and in 11/26 (42%) patients undergoing BMT or PBSCT. These results demonstrate that chronic active colitis with granuloma and Paneth cell metaplasia is not only a specific feature of CCS but also is present in GVHD and CMV colitis, irrespective of stem cell source.
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