The utility of biomarkers in the diagnosis and therapy of inflammatory bowel disease

Gastroenterology. 2011 May;140(6):1817-1826.e2. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2010.11.058.


Fecal and serologic biomarkers can be used in the diagnosis and management of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Fecal markers such as calprotectin and lactoferrin have been studied for their ability to identify patients with IBD, assess disease activity, and predict relapse. Antibodies against Saccharomyces cerevisiae and perinuclear antineutrophil cytoplasmic proteins have been used in diagnosis of IBD, to distinguish Crohn's disease (CD) from ulcerative colitis, and to predict the risk of complications of CD. Tests for C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate have been used to assess inflammatory processes and predict the course of IBD progression. Levels of drug metabolites and antibodies against therapeutic agents might be measured to determine why patients do not respond to therapy and to select alternative treatments. This review addresses the potential for biomarker assays to improve treatment strategies and challenges to their use and development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / diagnosis*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / drug therapy*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / physiopathology
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis*
  • Crohn Disease / drug therapy*
  • Crohn Disease / physiopathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / physiopathology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing


  • Biomarkers