The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes every May 27 as the world day of fight against inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which basically includes Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, both pathologies that can seriously affect the quality of life of the patient.
It affects approximately 2 million people in Europe and the prevalence is increasing all over the world.
Symptoms of IBD strongly resemble those of non-inflammatory diseases such as the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), whose rate is also increasing significantly.
Non invasive fecal biomarkers of inflammation play an important role in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), both for Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Their uses include determining the site and severity of inflammation, aiding therapeutic decision‐making, and informing patient prognosis. Their utility in distinguishing functional from organic disease is now established as is their ability to predict those patients who are more likely to relapse and therefore potentially benefit from an escalation in medical therapy. These biomarkers have transitioned to become commercially available assays and point of care tests.
Fecal biomarkers have considerable advantages over other types of bio markers. Radiological investigations can provide excellent anatomical detail pertaining to the intestine but are expensive and may expose the patient to significant doses of radiation. The gold standard tests such as ileocolonoscopy with mucosal biopsies are invasive, costly, and may not be well tolerated by patients, particularly if they need to be repeated with any degree of frequency.
Calprotectin is a calcium-containing protein which makes up 60% of the cytosolic protein of neutrophil and monocytes, and released during acute and chronic inflammation. A growing of literature (“Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of measuring fecal calprotectin in diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease in adults and children”, among other publications) has identified fecal Calprotectin (FC) as a non-invasive predictive test with high sensitivity and specificity for IBD.
Fecal Calprotectin provides a differential diagnosis between IBD and functional gut symptoms. The use of these biomarkers for this indication promises to ensure more prompt diagnosis and avoidance of unnecessary invasive investigations when screening tests are negative.