Hair ethyl glucuronide and serum carbohydrate deficient transferrin for the assessment of relapse in alcohol-dependent patientsHair ethyl glucuronide and serum carbohydrate deficient transferrin for the assessment of relapse in alcohol-dependent patients
van Nuijs, Alexander L.N.
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Laboratory Experimental Medicine and Pediatrics (LEMP)
Collaborative Antwerp Psychiatric Research Institute (CAPRI)
2016Toronto, Ont., 2016
Clinical biochemistry. - Toronto, Ont.
49(2016):7-8, p. 554-559
University of Antwerp
Objectives Ethyl glucuronide in hair (hEtG) and serum carbohydrate deficient transferrin (%CDT) are valuable markers for alcohol abuse, but their diagnostic accuracy to monitor abstinence and relapse is unclear. Here, we investigate to what extent repeated measurements of hEtG and %CDT can be used to monitor relapse in alcohol-dependent patients during abstinence treatment. Design and methods HEtG and %CDT were measured in individuals starting treatment for alcohol dependence both at treatment entry and 3 months later. Alcohol consumption and relapse episodes were recorded using the Time Line Follow Back and by alcohol breath and urine tests, and correlated with hEtG and %CDT measurements. Results Fifteen patients completed the study, of which nine had one or more relapses. Hair EtG and serum %CDT identified whether a relapse occurred in 78% and 57% of cases, respectively. Only hEtG correlated with the amount of alcohol consumed before treatment entry (Pearson r = 0.92; p < 0.001). The specificity of %CDT to assess abstinence during treatment was 100%. HEtG had a specificity of only 17%; however, in all patients who remained abstinent, hEtG decreased with > 85% from initial values. Mean hEtG, but not %CDT, differed significantly between patients who relapsed and patients who remained abstinent (p = 0.034). Conclusions HEtG was more sensitive than serum %CDT to assess relapse in alcohol-dependent patients and was positively correlated with the amounts of alcohol consumed. In contrast, serum %CDT was more specific for assessing abstinence. We highlight the benefit of repeated measurements of hEtG and serum %CDT for monitoring abstinence during treatment.