Publications by authors named "Fred Princen"

13 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Anti-Microbial Antibody Response is Associated With Future Onset of Crohn's Disease Independent of Biomarkers of Altered Gut Barrier Function, Subclinical Inflammation, and Genetic Risk.

Gastroenterology 2021 Jul 20. Epub 2021 Jul 20.

Zane Cohen Centre for Digestive Diseases, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:

Background And Aims: Altered host immune reactivity to microbial antigens is hypothesized to trigger the onset of Crohn's disease (CD). We aimed to assess whether increased serum anti-microbial antibody response in asymptomatic first-degree relatives (FDRs) of CD patients is an independent risk factor for future CD development.

Methods: We measured host serum antibody response to 6 microbial antigens at enrollment (Prometheus enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test: anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies immunoglobulin A/immunoglobulin G, anti-OmpC, anti-A4-Fla2, anti-FlaX, anti-CBir1) and derived the sum of positive antibodies (AS). We used samples at enrollment of prospectively followed healthy FDRs from a nested case-control cohort of the Crohn's and Colitis Canada Genetics Environment Microbial Project. Those who later developed CD (n = 77) were matched 1:4 by age, sex, follow-up duration, and geographic location with control FDRs remaining healthy (n = 307). To address our research aims, we fitted a multivariable conditional logistic regression model and performed causal mediation analysis.

Results: High baseline AS (≥2) (43% of cases, 11% of controls) was associated with higher risk of developing CD (adjusted odds ratio, 6.5; 95% confidence interval, 3.4-12.7; P < .001). Importantly, this association remained significant when adjusted for markers of gut barrier function, fecal calprotectin, C-reactive protein, and CD-polygenic risk score, and in subjects recruited more than 3 years before diagnosis. Causal mediation analysis showed that the effect of high AS on future CD development is partially mediated (42%) via preclinical gut inflammation.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that increased anti-microbial antibody responses are associated with risk of future development of CD, independent of biomarkers of abnormal gut barrier function, subclinical inflammation, and CD-related genetic risks. This suggests that anti-microbial antibody responses are an early predisease event in the development of CD.
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July 2021

Serum Biomarkers Identify Patients Who Will Develop Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Up to 5 Years Before Diagnosis.

Gastroenterology 2020 07 9;159(1):96-104. Epub 2020 Mar 9.

Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York. Electronic address:

Background & Aims: Biomarkers are needed to identify patients at risk for development of inflammatory bowel diseases. We aimed to identify serum biomarkers of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis that can be detected and quantified before diagnosis.

Methods: We obtained serum samples from patients archived before a diagnosis of Crohn's disease (n = 200) or ulcerative colitis (n = 199), as well as from 200 healthy individuals (controls), collected from 1998 through 2013 as part of the US Defense Medical Surveillance System. We measured levels of antibodies against microbes (anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae IgA or IgG, anti-Escherichiacoli outer membrane porin C, anti-CBir1, anti-flagellin 2, anti-flagellin X, and perinuclear anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies) and 1129 proteins in each sample. We then used functional principal component analysis to derive the time-varying trajectory for each marker, which then was used in a multivariate model to predict disease status. Predictive performances at different prediagnosis timepoints were evaluated using area under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUROCs). Biological pathways that were up-regulated in serum from patients with Crohn's disease were identified based on changes in protein abundance at different time periods preceding diagnosis.

Results: We identified a panel of 51 protein biomarkers that were predictive of Crohn's disease within 5 years with an AUROC of 0.76 and a diagnosis within 1 year with an AUROC of 0.87. Based on the proteins included in the panel, imminent development of CD was associated with changes in the complement cascade, lysosomes, innate immune response, and glycosaminoglycan metabolism. Serum antibodies and proteins identified patients who received a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis within 5 years with an AUROC of only 0.56 and within 1 year with an AUROC of 0.72.

Conclusions: We identified a panel of serum antibodies and proteins that were predictive of patients who will receive a diagnosis of Crohn's disease within 5 years with high accuracy. By contrast we did not identify biomarkers associated with future diagnosis of ulcerative colitis.
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July 2020

Cohort profile of the PRoteomic Evaluation and Discovery in an IBD Cohort of Tri-service Subjects (PREDICTS) study: Rationale, organization, design, and baseline characteristics.

Contemp Clin Trials Commun 2019 Jun 26;14:100345. Epub 2019 Mar 26.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.

Purpose: The etiology of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) remains currently unknown but evidence would suggest that it results from a complex interplay between genetic susceptibility genes, the intestinal microbiome and the environment, resulting in an increased response towards microbial and self-antigens, followed by the development of pre-clinical intestinal inflammation as a precursor to overt clinical disease. Efforts are needed to provide insights into the characterization of the disease, the possible prediction of complications, and the detection of a pre-clinical disease state where, through early screening and intervention, disease course can be reversed, attenuated or even prevented. A consortium of academic, industry and governmental organization investigators initiated this study to enable an assessment of pre-disease biomarkers in patients newly diagnosed with Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC).

Participants: A retrospective cohort of 1000 UC and 1000 CD cases with 500 matched controls was drawn from an active duty US military personnel population with relevant inclusion criteria with three associated pre-disease and a single disease-associated archived serum samples.

Findings To Date: The PREDICTS study has been established as a biorepository platform study to perform novel discovery and analysis efforts in the field of IBD and proteomic systems biology.

Future Plans: This study is poised to enable the assessment of novel biomarkers within the serum compartment to be analyzed with the goal of identifying pre-disease signals that ultimately predict disease risk, and further elucidate disease pathogenesis in the early stages of the disease process, and identify novel exposures that increase disease risk.
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June 2019

Anti-TNF Therapeutic Drug Monitoring in Postoperative Crohn's Disease.

J Crohns Colitis 2018 May;12(6):653-661

Department of Gastroenterology, St Vincent's Hospital and University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

Background: Anti-TNF prevents postoperative Crohn's disease recurrence in most patients but not all. This study aimed to define the relationship between adalimumab pharmacokinetics, maintenance of remission and recurrence.

Methods: As part of a study of postoperative Crohn's disease management, some patients undergoing resection received prophylactic postoperative adalimumab. In these patients, serum and fecal adalimumab concentration and serum anti-adalimumab antibodies [AAAs] were measured at 6, 12 and 18 months postoperatively. Levels of Crohn's disease activity index [CDAI], C-reactive protein [CRP] and fecal calprotectin [FC] were assessed at 6 and 18 months postoperatively. Body mass index and smoking status were recorded. A colonoscopy was performed at 6 and/or 18 months.

Results: Fifty-two patients [32 on monotherapy and 20 on combination therapy with thiopurine] were studied. Adalimumab concentration did not differ significantly between patients in endoscopic remission vs recurrence [Rutgeerts ≥ i2] [9.98µg/mL vs 8.43 µg/mL, p = 0.387]. Patients on adalimumab monotherapy had a significantly lower adalimumab concentration [7.89 µg/mL] than patients on combination therapy [11.725 µg/mL] [p = 0.001], and were significantly more likely to have measurable AAA [31% vs 17%, p = 0.001]. Adalimumab concentrations were lower in patients with detectable AAA compared with those without [3.59 µg/mL vs 12.0 µg/mL, p < 0.001]. Adalimumab was not detected in fecal samples. Adalimumab serum concentrations were lower in obese patients compared with in non-obese patients [p = 0.046].

Conclusion: Adalimumab concentration in patients treated with adalimumab to prevent symptomatic endoscopic recurrence postoperatively is, for most patients, well within the therapeutic window, and is not significantly lower in patients who develop recurrence compared with in those who remain in remission. Mechanisms of anti-TNF failure to prevent postoperative recurrence remain to be determined in these patients.
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May 2018

Evolution of cytokines and inflammatory biomarkers during infliximab induction therapy and the impact of inflammatory burden on primary response in patients with Crohn's disease.

Scand J Gastroenterol 2017 Oct 16;52(10):1086-1092. Epub 2017 Jun 16.

a Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Translational Research Center for GastroIntestinal Disorders (TARGID) , KU Leuven , Leuven , Belgium.

Objective: Primary non-response to infliximab in Crohn's disease is still incompletely understood. Our aim was to further characterize the role of inflammatory burden during infliximab induction therapy.

Materials And Methods: We studied a well-characterized cohort of 201 anti-TNF naive Crohn's disease patients treated with infliximab 5mg/kg at week 0, 2, 6 and 14 who had serum samples drawn just before every infusion. All serum samples were analyzed for CRP, albumin, TNF, IFN-γ, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, infliximab trough concentrations (in-house-developed ELISA) and antibodies to infliximab (HMSA, Prometheus Laboratories Inc., San Diego, CA). Primary non-response was defined as the absence of clinical improvement at week 14.

Results: The incidence of primary non-response to infliximab was 8% (n = 16). IL-8 concentrations at baseline were higher (p = .01) and albumin at week 6 was lower in primary non-responders (p = .01) compared to responders. During induction, IFN-γ and IL-6 concentrations decreased significantly at week 2 and week 6 in responders compared to primary non-responders (p < .05). Serum TNF increased significantly after each infliximab infusion and this increase from week 0 to week 14 was more pronounced in responders (p = .03). Multiple logistic regression identified TNF/CRP ratio at baseline as predictive for primary non-response to infliximab at week 14 (OR 2.8 (95% CI 1.4-5.5; p = .003)).

Conclusions: In this intensively sampled cohort of Crohn's disease patients, we demonstrate that inflammatory burden is more determining for primary non-response than drug exposure or immunogenicity. Our findings furthermore suggest that the contribution of TNF in inflammation might be higher in primary non-response, contradicting the non-TNF-driven concept.
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October 2017

Serologic antibodies in relation to outcome in postoperative Crohn's disease.

J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017 Jun;32(6):1195-1203

Department of Gastroenterology, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Background And Aim: Disease recurs frequently after Crohn's disease resection. The role of serological antimicrobial antibodies in predicting recurrence or as a marker of recurrence has not been well defined.

Methods: A total of 169 patients (523 samples) were prospectively studied, with testing peri-operatively, and 6, 12 and 18 months postoperatively. Colonoscopy was performed at 18 months postoperatively. Serologic antibody presence (perinuclear anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody [pANCA], anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies [ASCA] IgA/IgG, anti-OmpC, anti-CBir1, anti-A4-Fla2, anti-Fla-X) and titer were tested. Quartile sum score (range 6-24), logistic regression analysis, and correlation with phenotype, smoking status, and endoscopic outcome were assessed.

Results: Patients with ≥ 2 previous resections were more likely to be anti-OmpC positive (94% vs 55%, ≥ 2 vs < 2, P = 0.001). Recurrence at 18 months was associated with anti-Fla-X positivity at baseline (49% vs 29%; positive vs negative, P = 0.033) and 12 months (52% vs 31%, P = 0.04). Patients positive (n = 28) for all four antibacterial antibodies (anti-CBir1, anti-OmpC, anti-A4-Fla2, and anti-Fla-X) at baseline were more likely to experience recurrence at 18 months than patients negative (n = 32) for all four antibodies (82% vs 18%, P = 0.034; odds ratio 6.4, 95% confidence interval 1.16-34.9). The baseline quartile sum score for all six antimicrobial antibodies was higher in patients with severe recurrence (Rutgeert's i3-i4) at 18 months, adjusted for clinical risk factors (odds ratio 1.16, 95% confidence interval 1.01-1.34, P = 0.039). Smoking affected antibody status.

Conclusions: Anti-Fla-X and presence of all anti-bacterial antibodies identifies patients at higher risk of early postoperative Crohn's disease recurrence. Serologic screening pre-operatively may help identify patients at increased risk of recurrence.
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June 2017

A Matrix-based Model Predicts Primary Response to Infliximab in Crohn's Disease.

J Crohns Colitis 2015 Dec 7;9(12):1120-6. Epub 2015 Sep 7.

Department of Gastroenterology, Universitair ziekenhuis Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Background: Prediction of primary non-response [PNR] to anti-tumour necrosis factors [TNFs] in inflammatory bowel disease [IBD] is direly needed to select the optimal therapeutic class for a given patient. We developed a matrix-based prediction tool to predict response to infliximab [IFX] in Crohn's disease [CD] patients.

Methods: This retrospective single-centre study included 201 anti-TNF naïve CD patients who started with IFX induction therapy. PNR occurred in 16 [8%] patients. Clinical, biological [including serum TNF and the IBD serology 6 panel and genetic [the 163 validated IBD risk loci] markers were collected before start. Based on the best fitted regression model, probabilities of primary response to IFX were calculated and arranged in a prediction matrix tool.

Results: Multiple logistic regression withheld three final independent predictors [p < 0.05] for PNR: age at first IFX, {odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval [CI] of 1.1 (1.0-1.1)}, body mass index [BMI] (0.86 [0.7-1.0]), and previous surgery (4.4 [1.2-16.5]). The accuracy of this prediction model did not improve when the genetic markers were added (area under the curve [AUC] from 0.80 [0.67-0.93] to 0.78 [0.65-0.91]). The predicted probabilities for PNR to IFX increased from 1% to 53% depending on the combination of final predictors.

Conclusions: Readily available clinical factors [age at first IFX, BMI, and previous surgery] outperform serological and IBD risk loci in prediction of primary response to infliximab in this real-life cohort of CD patients. This matrix tool could be useful for guiding physicians and may avoid unnecessary or inappropriate exposure to IFX in IBD patients unlikely to benefit.
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December 2015

The association of tissue anti-TNF drug levels with serological and endoscopic disease activity in inflammatory bowel disease: the ATLAS study.

Gut 2016 Feb 10;65(2):249-55. Epub 2015 Feb 10.

Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida, USA.

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the correlation between serum and intestinal anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) levels, and their relationship to endoscopic disease activity and levels of TNF.

Design: Cross-sectional study of 30 patients receiving treatment with infliximab or adalimumab for Crohn's disease or UC. For each patient, a sample of serum was matched to tissue biopsies. Endoscopic and histological disease activity was recorded for each tissue sample.

Results: There was a significant positive correlation between anti-TNF in serum and tissue (r=0.3920, p=0.002), especially in uninflamed tissue (r=0.50, p<0.001), but not with those samples that had inflammation (r=0.19, p=0.54). Anti-TNF concentration in tissue correlated with degree of endoscopic inflammation, except for tissue with severe inflammation in which anti-TNF levels were again lower (mean normalised anti-TNF in tissue: uninflamed=0.93, mild=2.17, moderate=13.71, severe=2.2 inflammation (p=0.0042)). The ratio of anti-TNF-to-TNF in tissue was highest in uninflamed areas and lowest in severely inflamed areas. Patients with active mucosal disease had a higher rate of serum to tissue drug level mismatch when compared to those in remission (73.3% vs 33.3%, respectively; p=0.03).

Conclusions: Our data suggest that local tissue inflammation characterised by high levels of TNF serves as a sink for anti-TNF. We further postulate that some patients with high serum anti-TNF levels have active disease because tissue levels of anti-TNF are insufficient to neutralise local TNF production.
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February 2016

Long-term outcome of patients with Crohn's disease who discontinued infliximab therapy upon clinical remission.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2015 Jun 3;13(6):1103-10. Epub 2014 Dec 3.

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Translational Research Center for Gastrointestinal Disorders, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; Department of Gastroenterology, Universitair ziekenhuis Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. Electronic address:

Background & Aims: There are limited data on the effects of discontinuing infliximab therapy for Crohn's disease (CD). We investigated the long-term outcome of patients with CD who discontinued infliximab while in clinical remission, and searched for prognostic markers of continued remission after infliximab cessation.

Methods: We performed a retrospective, single-center study of 100 patients with CD who discontinued infliximab upon achieving clinical remission; 84 patients continued immunomodulator therapy. Clinical and endoscopic data were retrieved from a medical database in Belgium, and patients were followed up through April 2013 (median, 9.7 y; interquartile range, 8-11.5 y). Sustained clinical remission (SCR) was defined as maintenance of disease remission, without escalation in medical therapy or CD-related surgeries, until the end of the follow-up period. We measured trough concentrations of infliximab, antibodies to microbial antigens, and circulating inflammatory markers in serum samples collected before treatment and at the time of infliximab discontinuation.

Results: At the end of the follow-up period, 52 patients had SCR. Univariate (log-rank) analysis associated SCR with patient age at diagnosis (≥25 y; P = .012) and disease duration (<1 y; P = .017). Among factors evaluated at the time of infliximab discontinuation, infliximab trough concentrations (<6 μg/mL; P = .031), complete mucosal healing (P = .046), and serum positivity for vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (>0.67 μg/mL; P = .024) were associated with SCR. In multiple Cox proportional hazards regression analysis, only age at diagnosis of 25 years and older was associated independently with SCR (hazard ratio, 1.83; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-3.25; P = .04).

Conclusions: In a large, real-life study, 52% of patients with CD who discontinued infliximab upon achieving clinical remission remained in SCR after a median period of approximately 10 years; Most patients remained on immunomodulator therapy. Although patients with CD have variable responses to infliximab, a subgroup achieved long-term remission after infliximab discontinuation.
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June 2015

Activated cMET and IGF1R-driven PI3K signaling predicts poor survival in colorectal cancers independent of KRAS mutational status.

PLoS One 2014 4;9(8):e103551. Epub 2014 Aug 4.

Departments of Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Background: Oncogenic mutational analysis provides predictive guidance for therapeutics such as anti-EGFR antibodies, but it is successful only for a subset of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients.

Method: A comprehensive molecular profiling of 120 CRC patients, including 116 primary, 15 liver metastasis, and 1 peritoneal seeding tissue samples was performed to identify the relationship between v-Ki-ras2 Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS) WT and mutant CRC tumors and clinical outcomes. This included determination of the protein activation patterns of human epidermal receptor 1 (HER1), HER2, HER3, c-MET, insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R), phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), Src homology 2 domain containing (Shc), protein kinase B (AKT), and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) kinases using multiplexed collaborative enzyme enhanced reactive (CEER) immunoassay.

Results: KRAS WT and mutated CRCs were not different with respect to the expression of the various signaling molecules. Poor prognosis in terms of early relapse (<2 years) and shorter disease-free survival (DFS) correlated with enhanced activation of PI3K signaling relative to the HER kinase pathway signaling, but not with the KRAS mutational status. KRAS WT CRCs were identified as a mixed prognosis population depending on their level of PI3K signaling. KRAS WT CRCs with high HER1/c-MET index ratio demonstrated a better DFS post-surgery. c-MET and IGF1R activities relative to HER axis activity were considerably higher in early relapse CRCs, suggesting a role for these alternative receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) in driving high PI3K signaling.

Conclusions: The presented data subclassified CRCs based on their activated signaling pathways and identify a role for c-MET and IGF1R-driven PI3K signaling in CRCs, which is superior to KRAS mutational tests alone. The results from this study can be utilized to identify aggressive CRCs, explain failure of currently approved therapeutics in specific CRC subsets, and, most importantly, generate hypotheses for pathway-guided therapeutic strategies that can be tested clinically.
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April 2015

Combined serological, genetic, and inflammatory markers differentiate non-IBD, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis patients.

Inflamm Bowel Dis 2013 May;19(6):1139-48

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.

Background: Previous studies have demonstrated that serological markers can assist in diagnosing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In this study, we aim to build a diagnostic tool incorporating serological markers, genetic variants, and markers of inflammation into a computational algorithm to examine patterns of combinations of markers to (1) identify patients with IBD and (2) differentiate patients with Crohn's disease (CD) from ulcerative colitis (UC).

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, patient blood samples from 572 CD, 328 UC, 437 non-IBD controls, and 183 healthy controls from academic and community centers were analyzed for 17 markers: 8 serological markers (ASCA-IgA, ASCA-IgG, ANCA, pANCA, OmpC, CBir1, A4-Fla2, and FlaX), 4 genetic markers (ATG16L1, NKX2-3, ECM1, and STAT3), and 5 inflammatory markers (CRP, SAA, ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and VEGF). A diagnostic Random Forest algorithm was constructed to classify IBD, CD, and UC.

Results: Receiver operating characteristic analysis compared the diagnostic accuracy of using a panel of serological markers only (ASCA-IgA, ASCA-IgG, ANCA, pANCA, OmpC, and CBir1) versus using a marker panel that in addition to the serological markers mentioned above also included gene variants, inflammatory markers, and 2 additional serological markers (A4-Fla2 and FlaX). The extended marker panel increased the IBD versus non-IBD discrimination area under the curve from 0.80 (95% confidence interval [CI], ±0.05) to 0.87 (95% CI, ±0.04; P < 0.001). The CD versus UC discrimination increased from 0.78 (95% CI, ±0.06) to 0.93 (95% CI, ±0.04; P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Incorporating a combination of serological, genetic, and inflammation markers into a diagnostic algorithm improved the accuracy of identifying IBD and differentiating CD from UC versus using serological markers alone.
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May 2013

Combination of genetic and quantitative serological immune markers are associated with complicated Crohn's disease behavior.

Inflamm Bowel Dis 2011 Dec 9;17(12):2488-96. Epub 2011 Mar 9.

Department of Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Background: Treatment of Crohn's disease (CD) with biologics may alter disease progression, leading to fewer disease-related complications, but cost and adverse event profiles often limit their effective use. Tools identifying patients at high risk of complications, who would benefit the most from biologics, would be valuable. Previous studies suggest that biomarkers may aid in determining the course of CD. We aimed to determine if combined serologic immune responses and NOD2 genetic markers are associated with CD complications.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, banked blood from well-characterized CD patients (n = 593; mean follow-up: 12 years) from tertiary and community centers was analyzed for six serological biomarkers (ASCA-IgA, ASCA-IgG, anti-OmpC, anti-CBir1, anti-I2, pANCA). In a patient subset (n = 385), NOD2 (SNP8, SNP12, SNP13) genotyping was performed. Complications included stricturing and penetrating disease behaviors. A logistic regression model for the risk of complications over time was constructed and evaluated by cross-validation.

Results: For each serologic marker, complication rates were stratified by quartile. Complication frequency was significantly different across quartiles for each marker (P trend ≤ 0.001). Patients with SNP13 NOD2 risk alleles experienced increased complications versus patients without NOD2 mutations (P ≤ 0.001). A calibration plot of modeled versus observed complication rates demonstrated good agreement (R = 0.973). Performance of the model integrating serologic and genetic markers was demonstrated by area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC = 0.801; 95% confidence interval: 0.757-0.846).

Conclusions: This model combining serologic and NOD2 genetic markers may provide physicians with a tool to assess the probability of patients developing a complication over the course of CD.
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December 2011