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Novel potential biomarkers for the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with ulcerative colitis

Kourkoulis, P.a; Kapizioni, C.a; Michalopoulos, G.a; Andreou, N.P.b; Papaconstantinou, I.c; Karamanolis, G.c; Gazouli, M.b

European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology: October 2019 - Volume 31 - Issue 10 - p 1173–1183
doi: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000001490

Unambiguously, great progress has been achieved in the unraveling of more pathological pathways implicated in the development and progression of ulcerative colitis during the last decades. Novel effective drugs that have augmented the management armamentarium have been developed alongside this growing comprehension of the disease, rendering mucosal healing not only a feasible but the optimal goal of every therapy. Clinical evaluation, colonoscopy and biomarkers are the tools used by practitioners for the diagnosis and assessment of the status of the disease in order to achieve clinical remission and mucosal healing for their patients. Among these tools, colonoscopy is the gold method for the cause but is still an invasive, high-cost procedure with possible adverse events such as perforation. While clinical evaluation entails much subjectivity, biomarkers are objective, easily reproducible, non-invasive, cheap and potent surrogate tools of mucosal inflammation. Unfortunately, the well-established, currently in use serum biomarkers, such as C-reactive protein, erythrocyte sedimentation rate and others, do not display sufficiently acceptable sensitivity and specificity rates for the diagnosis of ulcerative colitis and, most importantly, do not represent precisely the mucosal inflammation status of the disease. Therefore, the discovery of new serum biomarkers has been the cause of several studies attempting to discover an “optimal” serum biomarker during the recent years. After thorough research, collection and examination of current data, this review focuses on and selectively presents promising, potential, novel serum biomarkers of ulcerative colitis as they are indicated by studies on the patient over the last years.

aGastroenterology Department, Tzaneion General Hospital of Piraeus, Piraeus

bDepartment of Basic Medical Sciences, Laboratory of Biology, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens

c2nd Department of Surgery, Aretaieion University Hospital, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Received 8 February 2019 Accepted 18 May 2019

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Correspondence to Maria Gazouli, PhD, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology, National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Michalakopoulou 176, 11527 Athens, Greece, Tel/fax: + 302107462231; e-mail:

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