From bench to bedside: Fecal calprotectin in inflammatory bowel diseases clinical setting

World J Gastroenterol. 2018 Sep 7;24(33):3681-3694. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v24.i33.3681.


Fecal calprotectin (FC) has emerged as one of the most useful tools for clinical management of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Many different methods of assessment have been developed and different cut-offs have been suggested for different clinical settings. We carried out a comprehensive literature review of the most relevant FC-related topics: the role of FC in discriminating between IBD and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and its use in managing IBD patients In patients with intestinal symptoms, due to the high negative predictive value a normal FC level reliably rules out active IBD. In IBD patients a correlation with both mucosal healing and histology was found, and there is increasing evidence that FC assessment can be helpful in monitoring disease activity and response to therapy as well as in predicting relapse, post-operative recurrence or pouchitis. Recently, its use in the context of a treat-to-target approach led to a better outcome than clinically-based therapy adjustment in patients with early Crohn's disease. In conclusion, FC measurement represents a cheap, safe and reliable test, easy to perform and with a good reproducibility. The main concerns are still related to the choice of the optimal cut-off, both for differentiating IBD from IBS, and for the management of IBD patients.

Keywords: Crohn’s disease; Fecal calprotectin; Inflammatory bowel diseases; Irritable bowel syndrome; Ulcerative colitis.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / diagnosis*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / drug therapy
  • Colon / diagnostic imaging
  • Colon / pathology
  • Colonoscopy
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis*
  • Crohn Disease / drug therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Feces / chemistry*
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / diagnostic imaging
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex / analysis*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Recurrence
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex