Detection of clarithromycin-resistant Helicobacter pylori by stool PCR in children: a comprehensive review of literature.

PMID 23067446


Helicobacter pylori infection is acquired mainly during childhood. To eradicate H. pylori, clarithromycin-based triple therapy has been recommended in children and adults by the latest Maastricht Consensus. However, the prevalence of clarithromycin-resistant H. pylori was higher in children than that in adults. Therefore, rapid, reliable and noninvasive methods for detecting clarithromycin-resistant H. pylori strains should be developed for children. Studies on evaluating stool PCR in detecting clarithromycin-resistant H. pylori and epidemiological surveys of the prevalence of clarithromycin-resistant H. pylori in children were searched in PubMed (from 1966 to December, 2011) for reviewing. The average rates of primary clarithromycin-resistant H. pylori ranged from less than 10% to more than 40% in different regions. The rates of secondary resistance to clarithromycin were higher than primary resistance in the same population. In H. pylori isolated from children, the frequent point mutations that are responsible for the clarithromycin resistance included A2143G, A2142G, A2142C and A2144G, and they varied geographically. Comparing with culture-based susceptibility tests, stool PCR performed excellently for their rapidity, independence of bacterial growth, reproducibility and easy standardization. However, stool PCR showed lower sensitivity but perfect specificity in detection of clarithromycin-resistant H. pylori in children. Methodology and mixed infections of resistant H. pylori strains might contribute to the considerable discrepancies of stool PCR results. Detection of clarithromycin-resistant H. pylori by stool PCR for children are reliable, rapid, noninvasive methods that are worthy of further clinical promotion. However, more evaluations of stool PCR in detection of clarithromycin-resistant H. pylori in children need to be conducted.