Faecal lactoferrin is a useful biomarker for mucosal healing in patients with ulcerative colitis during granulocyte and monocyte adsorptive apheresis therapy

Colorectal Dis. 2016 Jul;18(7):696-702. doi: 10.1111/codi.13258.


Aim: The study investigated the value of faecal lactoferrin as a follow-up biomarker for mucosal healing of ulcerative colitis during granulocyte and monocyte adsorptive apheresis (GMA) therapy.

Method: Patients with ulcerative colitis exhibiting a moderate or severe disease activity with a partial Mayo Score (pMS) of over 4 were enrolled in this study. The patients received 10 courses of GMA therapy. The pMS value and faecal lactoferrin level were monitored and compared with the findings of endoscopy until 12 months after the last dose of GMA therapy.

Results: Twenty patients (male:female 11:9) were enrolled in this study. Twelve had total colitis, while six had left-sided involvement and two had distal proctitis. Thirteen (65.0%) responded to GMA therapy. The faecal lactoferrin levels were significantly decreased in patients who responded to GMA therapy (P < 0.05), whereas the levels did not change in non-responders. Moreover, the faecal lactoferrin levels correlated with the endoscopic findings (r = 0.792, P < 0.01) and pMS scores (r = 0.529, P < 0.01). The correlation coefficients between the faecal lactoferrin levels and mucosal findings were higher than those observed between the pMS score and mucosal findings.

Conclusion: The faecal lactoferrin level is a useful biomarker of the mucosal findings in ulcerative colitis. Although endoscopy is the gold standard, the faecal lactoferrin level can be used as a biomarker during GMA therapy in patients with ulcerative colitis.

Keywords: Faecal lactoferrin; biomarker; granulocyte and monocyte adsorptive apheresis; mucosal healing; ulcerative colitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / pathology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / therapy*
  • Feces / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Granulocytes
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology*
  • Lactoferrin / analysis*
  • Leukapheresis / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • LTF protein, human
  • Lactoferrin