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Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2012 Jun;41(2):463-82. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2012.01.001.

The promise and pitfalls of serologic testing in inflammatory bowel disease.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Baylor College of Medicine, 1709 Dryden, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


The role of IBD serologies is still evolving. However, as that evolution progresses, it will continue to provide important insights into the etiology of IBD and help define individualized treatment strategies for patients. The presence of multiple IBD antimicrobial antibodies and increased reactivity form a useful heuristic model to understand the evolution of CD. The role of ANCAs and autoantibodies in pathogenesis of UC is an area that requires further investigation. Although IBD serologies exhibit considerable diagnostic accuracy, it is unclear whether they will supplant simpler and more direct evaluations in making an initial diagnosis of UC or Crohn (Table 3). The utility of panels of IBD serologies to stratify and predict the course of CD has been an arena of fertile investigation. Developing individual treatment strategies based on the probability of developing complicated aggressive disease would be a significant advance in medical management of CD. However, if major clinical decisions are to be made based on these serologies, we will need more prospective critical studies from the time of diagnosis to define their clinical applicability and to demonstrate a true difference in outcomes.

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