Menetrier disease: symptoms and treatment

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Menetrier disease: symptoms and treatment
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Menetrier disease is a thickening of the lining of the stomach, which forms large gastric folds. This pathology of unknown origin is rare, and affects mainly men between the ages of 30 and 60. So what are the symptoms? And can it be treated?

What is Menetrier disease?

Discovered in 1888 by Pierre-Eugene Menetrier, Menetrier disease is a thickening of the stomach lining by more than 2 mm, in one part or all over the stomach, caused by a lengthening of the glandular tubes.

In Menetrier disease, the stomach does not produce enough hydrochloric acid. Generally, the stomach produces this acid, which is necessary for digesting food, but in the case of this illness, it produces more mucous than hydrochloric acid, which thickens the lining of the stomach.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of Menetrier disease are fairly specific:

  • pain in the upper middle region of the stomach
  • vomiting
  • swelling
  • anorexia
  • weight loss

How is it diagnosed?

Menetrier disease is generally diagnosed via fibroscopy, which identifies the presence of gastric folds and a thick, creased stomach lining.

Next, a biopsy is necessary to find out whether there are stomach cells which are hypertrophied or atrophied. A CT scan or a gastric ultrasound can also confirm thickening of the walls of the stomach, and indicate the extent to which this has occurred.

Treatment for Mentrier disease

Obviously, if you are presenting with all of the symptoms mentioned above, consult your doctor quickly, who will prescribe the appropriate treatment, or refer you to a gastroenterologist, a specialist in the digestive system.

It is urgent that you consult a professional, as Menetrier disease is considered a pre-cancerous disease, and cancer can develop in 10 to 15% of cases after an average of 7 years. In fact, the multiplication of gastric tissue and its loss of function can evolve into stomach cancer.

If medical treatment is not correctly followed, such that the risk of cancer becomes greater, or if the disease is too unpleasant to live with, a gastrectomy (full or partial surgical removal of the stomach) may be recommended.

Cetuximab: a new treatment hope?

Up until now, there was no reliable treatment for Mentrier disease. However, cetuximab could well change the lives of sufferers. This medication is effective for treating certain forms of colorectal cancer, and has shown promising results in 9 patients affected by Mentrier disease. After one month of treatment, 7 out of 9 patients decided to continue with it, and 4 went into full or almost full remission after 8 to 40 months of treatment. This medication still requires more testing before it is made widely available.

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