Recently, an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the measurement of canine pancreas-specific lipase (Spec cPL) has become commercially available. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the specificity of the Spec cPL in dogs with a histologically normal pancreas.
Forty-four dogs euthanized for reasons unrelated to this study were enrolled. CBC, biochemistry panel, and Spec cPL were analyzed prior to euthanasia and the entire pancreas removed post euthanasia. The pancreata were sectioned every 1 cm and reviewed by the same pathologist (SJN) using a previously published classification system (Newman, et al. Veterinary Pathology 18:115-118, 2006). A mean cumulative score (MCS) for neutrophilic inflammation, lymphocytic inflammation, pancreatic necrosis, peripancreatic necrosis, edema, atrophy, fibrosis and nodules and disease activity index (AI) and disease chronicity index (CI) were determined for each pancreas.
Seventeen client-owned dogs from a private veterinary practice were entered into the study. Dogs were euthanized for medical reasons: trauma (6), dystocia (2), nonpancreatic neoplasia (3), osteoarthritis (1), anemia (1), diabetic ketoacidosis (1), pancreatic neoplasia (1), and pancreatitis (2). Twenty-seven dogs from an animal shelter were entered in the study. Each dog was examined and bloodwork was reviewed. One dog was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, and one dog was underweight and anemic. The remaining 25 dogs appeared clinically healthy with 6 dogs having mild changes on bloodwork.
Dogs were classified into 2 groups for statistical comparison. One group contained dogs with a disease involving the pancreas (pancreatitis, diabetes mellitus and pancreatic neoplasia). The other group contained healthy dogs and dogs with a disease not involving the pancreas. A student's t-test comparing the MCS for each lesion, AI and CI of the 2 groups revealed a statistical difference between the pancreata for all parameters. Population distribution data was established for the dogs that were healthy or had diseases not involving the pancreas. A pancreas with a MCS for each histologic category, AI and CI which included 90% of this population was considered normal. Based on these criteria, 31 dogs had a histologically normal pancreas. The Spec cPL was below the cut off for pancreatitis in 30 of these dogs resulting in a specificity of 96.8%.
In conclusion, the Spec cPL test is highly specific and is not elevated in dogs with a histologically normal pancreas.