Novel biomarker profiles to improve individual diagnosis and prognosis in patients with suspected inflammatory bowel disease: protocol for the Nordic inception cohort study (NORDTREAT)

BMJ Open. 2024 May 15;14(5):e083144. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2023-083144.


Introduction: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, can be challenging to diagnose, and treatment outcomes are difficult to predict. In the NORDTREAT cohort study, a Nordic prospective multicentre study, we aim to identify novel molecular biomarkers of diagnostic value by assessing the diagnostic test accuracy (cross-sectionally), as well as the prognostic utility when used as prognostic markers in the long-term (cohort study). In the diagnostic test accuracy study, the primary outcome is a successful diagnosis using one or more novel index tests at baseline compared with the ECCO criteria as the reference standard. The composite outcome of the prognostic utility study is 'severe IBD' within 52 weeks from inclusion, defined as one or more of the following three events: IBD-related surgery, IBD-related hospitalisation or IBD-related death.

Methods and analysis: We aim to recruit 800 patients referred on suspicion of IBD to this longitudinal observational study, a collaboration between 11 inclusion sites in Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Inclusion will occur from February 2022 until December 2023 with screening and baseline visits for all participants and three outcome visits at weeks 12, 26 and 52 after baseline for IBD-diagnosed patients. Biological material (blood, faeces, biopsies, urine and hair), clinical data and lifestyle information will be collected during these scheduled visits.

Ethics and dissemination: This study will explore novel biomarkers to improve diagnostic accuracy and prediction of disease progression, thereby improving medical therapy and the quality of life for patients with IBD.The study is approved by the Ethics Committee (DK: S-20200051, v1.4, 16.10.2021; IS: VSNb2021070006/03.01, NO: 193064; SE: DNR 2021-05090) and the Danish Data Protecting Agency (20/54594). Results will be disseminated through peer-reviewed journals, patient associations and presentations at international conferences.

Clinical trial registration number: NCT05414578; Pre-results.

Keywords: Adult gastroenterology; Endoscopy; Gastroenterology; Inflammatory bowel disease; Prognosis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers*
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis
  • Crohn Disease / therapy
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / therapy
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Research Design
  • Scandinavian and Nordic Countries

Associated data