Aim: To evaluate fecal calprotectin (FC) as a surrogate marker of treatment outcome of relapse of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and, to compare FC with fecal myeloperoxidase (MPO) and fecal eosinophil protein X (EPX).
Methods: Thirty eight patients with IBD, comprising of 27 with ulcerative colitis (UC) and 11 with Crohn's disease (CD) were investigated before treatment (inclusion), and after 4 and 8 wk of treatment. Treatment outcomes were evaluated by clinical features of disease activity and endoscopy in UC patients, and disease activity in CD patients. In addition, fecal samples were analyzed for FC by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and for MPO and EPX with radioimmunoassay (RIA).
Results: At inclusion 37 of 38 (97%) patients had elevated FC levels (> 94.7 microg/g). At the end of the study, 31 of 38 (82%) patients fulfilled predefined criteria of a complete response [UC 21/27 (78%); CD 10/11 (91%)]. Overall, a normalised FC level at the end of the study predicted a complete response in 100% patients, whereas elevated FC level predicted incomplete response in 30%. Normalised MPO or EPX levels predicted a complete response in 100% and 90% of the patients, respectively. However, elevated MPO or EPX levels predicted incomplete response in 23% and 22%, respectively.
Conclusion: A normalised FC level has the potential to be used as a surrogate marker for successful treatment outcome in IBD patients. However, patients with persistent elevation of FC levels need further evaluation. FC and MPO provide superior discrimination than EPX in IBD treatment outcome.