“Stranger things” in the gut: uncommon items in gastrointestinal specimens

Federica Grillo, Michela Campora, Luca Carlin, Laura Cornara, Paola Parente, Alessandro Vanoli, Andrea Remo, Paola Migliora, Fiocca Roberto, Matteo Fassan, Luca Mastracci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Organic (such as parasites or vegetable remnants) and inorganic substances may be encountered during routine pathology diagnostic work up of endoscopic gastrointestinal biopsy samples and major resections, causing possible diagnostic conundrums for the young and not so young pathologists. The main aim of this review is the description of the most frequent oddities one can encounter as foreign bodies, in gastrointestinal pathology, on the basis of the current literature and personal experience. The types of encountered substances are divided into four principal categories: parasites (helminths such as Enterobius vermicularis, Strongyloides, Schistosoma, and Anisakis, and protozoa such as Entamoeba, Giardia and some intestinal coccidia); drugs and pharmaceutical fillers (found as deposits and as bystanders, innocent or not); seeds (possibly confused with worms) and plant remnants; pollutants (secondary to post-resection or post-biopsy contamination of the sample). An ample library of images is provided in order to consent easy referencing for diagnostic routine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalVirchows Arch.
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2021


  • Amebiasis
  • Gastrointestinal diseases
  • Parasites
  • Schistosomiasis
  • Strongyloides


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