Improved monitoring of inflammatory activity in patients with ulcerative colitis by combination of faecal tests for haemoglobin and calprotectin

Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 2019 Sep;79(5):341-346. doi: 10.1080/00365513.2019.1622148. Epub 2019 Jun 4.


Faecal calprotectin (FC) tests and faecal immunological tests (FIT) for haemoglobin have been used to monitor disease activity in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) but used alone they have some limitation concerning the predictive ability. We aimed to test if an FC test used in combination with FIT could improve the predictive ability. Consecutive out-patients with UC (n = 93) who were admitted for colonoscopy completed a single faecal sample before the start of bowel preparation. A quantitative CALPRO® calprotectin ELISA test and a qualitative FIT (cut-off < 40 ng/mL) were analyzed. An estimated Mayo score and a score of histological inflammation was performed blinded to the result of the faecal tests. The sensitivity, specificity, negative predictive value and positive predictive value for endoscopic inflammation (Mayo score > 1) was for FIT 85%, 83%, 96%, 57% and for FC > 186 µg/g 73%, 87%, 87%, 54%. Corresponding results for FIT*FC > 186 µg/g (at least one test positive) were 92%, 69%, 97%, 43%. For detecting moderate/severe histological inflammation the results were for FIT 69%, 79%, 92%, 43%, for FC > 75 µg/g 95%, 62%, 98%, 41%, and for FIT*FC > 75 µg/g 100%, 60%, 100%, 36%. None of the markers alone or in combination were useful to predict deep remission (Mayo score = 0 and no histological inflammation). We conclude that using the combination of an FC test and FIT shows minor improvement in predictive ability for inflammatory activity and remission in patients with UC.

Keywords: Faecal calprotectin; faecal immunochemical haemoglobin tests; inflammatory bowel disease; ulcerative colitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / pathology*
  • Feces / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Tests / methods*
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Hemoglobins
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex