Background Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is a complex disease for which clear understanding of clinical manifestations is needed to avoid misdiagnosis, inappropriate treatment, and severe com-plications. We evaluated the accuracy of a whole-blood stimulation test based on Interleukin (IL)-4 detection in response to Antigen B (AgB) of Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato to discriminate cyst viability and detect cyst reactivation in patients with hepatic CE. Methodology/Principal findings Thirty patients with CE3b cysts and 37 patients with spontaneously-inactivated CE4-CE5 cysts were recruited (T0). After enrollment, 5 patients with CE3b cysts received albenda-zole, resulting in cyst solidification (CE4) in 4/5. Within a two-year follow-up, the whole-blood test was repeated at two time-points, in ≥14 (T1) and in ≥4 (T2) patients per group. IL-4 and a panel of other soluble factors were measured in the stimulated plasma. Baseline IL-4 levels were significantly higher in patients with CE3b compared to those with CE4 cysts (p = 0.006). Test accuracy for CE3b diagnosis had a sensitivity of 33–60% and a specificity of 76–95%, depending on the cut-off applied. Overall, IL-4 levels did not change significantly over time in either group; however, patients within the CE3b group showed a significant decrease of IL-1ra, IL-6, IL-8, G-CSF, IFN-γ, IP-10, MCP-1, MIP-1α, FGF at T1 compared to T0 (p≤0.042). Conclusions/Significance Whole-blood IL-4-response to AgB is significantly higher in patients with active compared to inactive CE but apparently not modulated over time after treatment. On the contrary, the levels of IL-1ra, IL-6, IL-8, G-CSF, IFN-γ, IP-10, MCP-1, MIP-1α, FGF significantly decreased in active CE during follow-up. Additional studies are needed to understand whether these findings might have a clinical significance for patients’ follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0009648
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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