Disease Prognostic Biomarkers in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases—A Reality Check
Matthias Zilbauer, Robert Heuschkel Published in Journal of Crohn's and Colitis, January 2022.
Inflammatory bowel diseases [IBD] such as Crohn’s disease [CD] and ulcerative colitis [UC] are complex conditions presenting with a wide range of phenotypes. Given major variation in disease severity and outcomes as well as response to existing therapies, a personalised treatment approach stands the chance of improving the overall disease outcome as well as minimising potentially harmful side effects. However, disease activity or distribution at the point of diagnosis are poor predictors of future disease outcome. Hence, the urgent need to develop biomarkers that could either predict the overall disease course [i.e., disease prognostic biomarkers] or the response to individual therapies [i.e., disease predictive biomarkers]. Despite the widely accepted need for such biomarkers to improve the management of IBD patients, their development has proven to be challenging for a number of reasons. Based on our own experience in this field, we perform a reality check on existing evidence, discuss main challenges, and outline future perspectives.