Evaluation of a commercial Echinococcus Western Blot assay for serological follow-up of patients with alveolar echinococcosis
D. Tappe, B. Grüner, P. Kern, and M. Frosch.
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology: CVI 15 (11): 1633--1637 (November 2008)PMID: 18799646.

A total of 20 patients with alveolar echinococcosis in different clinical stages according to the WHO-PNM staging system (P, parasitic mass in the liver; N, involvement of neighboring organs; M, metastasis) were followed up serologically with the commercial Echinococcus Western Blot IgG assay and a crude antigen extract enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The cohort included patients after curative resection and patients who had unresectable lesions with stable disease or progressive infection. There were visible correlations of the crude antigen ELISA index and the presence and intensity of diagnostic bands in the Western blot. In most patients after curative resection, bands at 7, 16, and 18 kDa markedly decreased or vanished after 1 to 4 years. In a patient with a nonviable lesion (it died out), bands at 16 and 18 kDa vanished after 4 years. Among individuals with unresectable lesions but stable disease under antiparasitic chemotherapy, a decrease of all diagnostic bands was visible after 2 to 3 years in half of the patients, whereas the other half had unchanged blot results after 4 to 6 years. Patients with progressive disease showed increasing intensities of bands at 16, 18, and 7 kDa. The change of banding patterns was not influenced by the PNM stage in patients after curative surgery or with unresectable lesions. Our data indicate a correlation of the 7-, 16-, and 18-kDa-Western blot bands with disease activity independent of the PNM stage. This study demonstrated the usefulness of the Echinococcus Western Blot IgG assay as an additional serological test for the follow-up of patients with alveolar echinococcosis.
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