Utility of fecal lactoferrin in identifying crohn disease activity in children

Marian D. Pfefferkorn, James H. Boone, James T. Nguyen, Beth E. Juliar, Miriam A. Davis, Kelly K. Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objectives: Fecal lactoferrin (FL) is a noninvasive biomarker that is elevated in Crohn disease (CD) compared to irritable bowel syndrome. The purpose of this study was to evaluate FL in identifying children with active versus inactive CD. Patients and Methods: Fresh stool samples were collected from children with CD scheduled for endoscopy or a clinic visit, and from new outpatients who were scheduled for colonoscopy. FL was determined using a polyclonal antibody-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Physical global assessment, endoscopic findings, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and the Pediatric CD Activity Index (PCDAI) were recorded for patients with CD. The PCDAI scores symptoms, laboratory parameters, physical examination, and extraintestinal manifestations. A score of ≤10 is inactive disease, 11 to 30 is mild active, and ≤31 is moderate to severe active. Results: Of 101 study patients (4- to 20-year-old, 66 boys), 31 had active CD, 23 had inactive CD, and 37 had noninflammatory bowel disease (non- IBD) conditions. Four patients with ulcerative colitis and 6 patients with polyposis were excluded from analysis. FL was significantly elevated in CD versus non-IBD (P<0.001) and in active versus inactive CD (P<0.001). The PCDAI and ESR were higher in active CD than in inactive CD (both P<0.001). Using an FL cutoff of 7.25μg/g, FL has 100% sensitivity and 100% negative predictive value in detecting active CD. Using an FL cutoff level of 60mg/g, FL had 84% sensitivity, 74% specificity, 81% positive predictive value, and 77% negative predictive value for detecting active CD. Conclusions: FL is a promising biomarker of active CD and may be more practical to use when it is not feasible to obtain all of the necessary clinical information for the PCDAI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-428
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010


  • Crohn disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Lactoferrin
  • Pediatric inflammatory bowel disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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