Background: The clinical course of ulcerative colitis (UC) is unpredictable. During recent years, the ability of fecal biomarkers to predict relapse in inflammatory bowel disease has been evaluated. The objective of this study was to assess fecal calprotectin (FC) as a predictor of disease recurrence in patients with new onset of UC.
Methods: Sixty-nine patients were included. After the initial treatment, patients were followed up after 3 months and then yearly for 3 years. The prognostic role of FC 3 months after the initial therapy was evaluated.
Results: The FC levels 3 months after the diagnosis were higher in patients experiencing a relapsing disease course compared with those with a mild disease course during 1 year (median, 263; interquartile range [IQR], 100–634 μg/g versus median, 102; IQR, 38–225 μg/g; P = 0.009) and 3 years of follow-up (median, 280; IQR, 102–622 μg/g versus median, 118; IQR, 39–219 μg/g; P = 0.01). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curves using calprotectin to predict a relapsing disease course during 1 year and 3 years were 0.69 (95% confidence interval, 0.56–0.82) and 0.70 (95% confidence interval, 0.57–0.83), respectively. In the Kaplan–Meier survival analysis, a FC level >262 μg/g was associated with an increased risk of a relapsing disease course during the study period (P = 0.003). In logistic regression analysis, only FC and age were found to be independent predictors of having a relapsing disease course.
Conclusions: Levels of FC 3 months after the initial therapy in patients with new onset of UC predict the disease course over the following years, and they are of value in the clinical management of these patients.