Undiagnosed celiac disease appears to have long-term consequences beyond the gastrointestinal tract, according to a study published online in The American Journal of Gastroenterology.
Researchers from Denmark screened biobank serum samples for IgA and IgG tissue transglutaminase (TTG) and IgG deamidated gliadin peptide from 16,776 participants enrolled in 8 population-based cohort studies who were examined during 1976 through 2012. They followed participants using Danish Nationwide registries until December 31, 2017, to assess vital status and incidence of disease. Individuals with antibody positivity but without a diagnosis of celiac disease in the National Patient Register were considered to have undiagnosed celiac disease.
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The prevalence of undiagnosed celiac disease among participants was 1%, according to the study. Undiagnosed celiac disease was linked with heightened risk of cancer overall (hazard ratio [HR],1.57; 95% CI, 1.16-2.11), as well as gastrointestinal cancer (HR, 2.33; 95% CI, 1.35-4.04), cancer of the uterus (HR, 3.95; 95% CI, 1.46-10.69), breast cancer (HR, 1.98; 95% CI, 1.02-3.82), and head and neck cancer (HR, 3.12; 95% CI, 1.15-8.43). Undiagnosed celiac disease was also associated with cardiovascular disease (HR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.01-1.85).
“Undiagnosed celiac disease was associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, suggesting that untreated celiac disease has serious long-term health consequences not only affecting the gastrointestinal tract,” the researchers concluded.
However, they did not find a statistically significant association between undiagnosed celiac disease and mortality (HR, 1.19; 95% CI, 0.87-1.61).
Kårhus LL, Skaaby T, Petersen J, et al. Long-term consequences of undiagnosed celiac seropositivity. Am J Gastroenterol. Published online June 16, 2020. doi:10.14309/ajg.0000000000000737