Purpose of review: Inflammatory bowel disease is characterized by chronic intestinal inflammation in the absence of a recognized pathogen. In its classic description, there are two principal forms of inflammatory bowel disease: Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis. The clinical heterogeneity of these disorders alludes to the possibility of diverse pathogenetic mechanisms underlying inflammatory bowel diseases. The purpose of this review is to summarize the latest information on biomarkers of Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis.
Recent findings: The authors have focused on serologic markers for which emerging data support their use as predictors of disease evolution. Serologic markers such as perinuclear antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody, anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibody, anti-OmpC, and anti-I2 may be useful in distinguishing inflammatory bowel diseases from functional disorders and ulcerative colitis from Crohn disease and predicting complications of disease. Genetic markers such as CARD15/NOD2 may be useful in the future when combined with other markers to predict disease course. Biochemical markers of inflammation such as C-reactive protein are useful to stratify patients likely to respond to biologic therapies and to follow response to treatment. In the future, functional genomics and proteomics will be used to rapidly screen patients for subclinical characteristics that can predict disease course and response to therapy.
Summary: A variety of biomarkers can be used to stratify patients with inflammatory bowel disease into more homogeneous subgroups with respect to response to therapy and disease progression.