The Value of Fecal Markers in Predicting Relapse in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Galgut BJ1, Lemberg DA1,2, Day AS3, Leach ST1. Front Pediatr. 2018 Jan 19;5:292. doi: 10.3389/fped.2017.00292. eCollection 2017.

Author information

1 School of Women's and Children's Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

2 Department of Gastroenterology, Sydney Children's Hospital Randwick, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

3 Department of Paediatrics, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand.


The inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are lifelong chronic illnesses that place an immense burden on patients. The primary aim of therapy is to reduce disease burden and prevent relapse. However, the occurrence of relapses is often unpredictable. Current disease monitoring is primarily by way of clinical indices, with relapses often only recognized once the inflammatory episode is established with subsequent symptoms and gut damage. The window between initial upregulation of the inflammatory response and the recognition of symptoms may provide an opportunity to prevent the relapse and associated morbidity. This review will describe the existing literature surrounding predictive indicators of relapse of IBD with a specific focus on fecal biomarkers. Fecal biomarkers offer promise as a convenient, non-invasive, low cost option for diseasemonitoring that is predictive of subsequent relapse. To exploit the potential of fecal biomarkers in this role, further research is now required. This research needs to assess multiple fecal markers in context with demographics, disease phenotype, genetics, and intestinal microbiome composition, to build disease behavior models that can provide the clinician with sufficient confidence to intervene and change the long-term diseasecourse.

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