The clinical course of inflammatory bowel disease is characterized by a succession of relapses and remissions.
Dr Costa and colleagues aimed to assess in a study whether the predictive value of fecal calprotectin for clinical relapse is different in ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
For 12 months, the team followed up 79 consecutive patients with a diagnosis of clinically quiescent inflammatory bowel disease (38 Crohn's disease and 41 ulcerative colitis).
The investigators oversaw regular clinical evaluations and blood tests of each participant.
The researchers collected a single stool sample at the beginning of the study from each patient.
| There is a 2-fold increase in the relapse risk in patients with Crohn's disease|
The investigators assessed the calprotectin concentration by a commercially available enzyme linked immunoassay.
The researchers found that in Crohn's disease, median calprotectin values were 220.1 µg/g in those patients who relapsed during follow up, and 220.5 µg/g in non-relapsing patients.
The research team also found that in ulcerative colitis, the median calprotectin values were 220 µg/g and 67 µg/g in relapsing and non-relapsing patients, respectively.
The researchers found a 2-fold and 14-fold increase in the relapse risk, respectively, in those patients with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis in clinical remission who had a fecal calprotectin concentration higher than 150 µg/g.
Dr Costa commented that, "Fecal calprotectin proved to be an even stronger predictor of clinical relapse in ulcerative colitis than in Crohn's disease, which makes the test a promising non-invasive tool for monitoring and optimizing therapy".