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Br J Surg. 2009 Jun;96(6):663-74. doi: 10.1002/bjs.6593.

Faecal calprotectin or lactoferrin can identify postoperative recurrence in Crohn's disease.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.



Identifying Crohn's disease recurrence in symptomatic patients after ileocaecal resection is difficult. The aim of this study was to evaluate faecal concentrations of granulocyte degradation products in this setting.


A postoperative cohort of 13 patients was followed prospectively for 1 year with regular faecal calprotectin (FC) and lactoferrin (FL) measurements. A second postoperative cohort (median 24 months after resection) of 104 patients provided a single stool sample. Faecal measurements were compared with symptom diaries, the Harvey Bradshaw Index, endoscopic examination, C-reactive protein and platelet measurement.


In the uncomplicated course, both markers normalized within 2 months. Both FC and FL correlated significantly with Harvey Bradshaw Index (P < 0.001). Twenty-eight patients with severely clinically active disease had high mean(s.e.) levels of FC (661.1(119.1) microg/g) and FL (116.6(32.2) microg/g); and 43 with clinically inactive disease had low levels of FC (70.2(27.1) microg/g) and FL (5.9(2.4) microg/g). In patients with mild to moderately clinically active disease, FC and FL identified individuals with and without recurrent inflammatory disease. Faecal markers were more accurate at predicting clinical disease activity than C-reactive protein, platelet count or endoscopic appearance.


FC and FL are non-invasive tests that can help to identify disease recurrence in symptomatic postoperative patients.

(c) 2009 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd.

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