Patient's hands on his stomach, showing discomfort Doctor feeling the stomach of a patient lying down
Doctor looking over test results with patient
Lactoferrin is the most stable fecal biomarker available for intestinal inflammation, and is more reliable than microscopy for detecting fecal leukocytes since it does not rely on intact leukocytes (which degrade in stool within hours).
Doctor meeting with child patient and mom
Lactoferrin testing relies only on a fecal sample and thus reduces patient anxiety about having to submit to more invasive procedures. It provides a patient-friendly first read on inflammation and helps to rapidly identify those relatively few patients who will warrant further investigation.
Doctor's hand on back of patient wearing a hospital gown
Lactoferrin testing has a sensitivity of 81.5 and a specificity of 96.5. Unlike white blood cell count, it is specific to intestinal inflammation.
Patient with doctor holding clipboard of paperwork
By ruling out active IBD, lactoferrin testing helps to prevent unnecessary endoscopy, resulting in significant cost savings for both the patient and the health system. It also prevents unnecessary or mis-targeted antibiotic use for suspected C. difficile patients.
Nurse places hand on patient's shoulder
Two diseases, in particular, are often associated with intestinal inflammation: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) IBD is the primary cause of noninfectious intestinal inflammation and can be difficult to distinguish from other intestinal disorders, especially Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Clostridium difficile disease/infection CDI is the primary cause of infectious intestinal inflammation. IBD and CDI are often found together in a single patient.
Clinician at desk in lab
If your practice includes patients with ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or chronic bowel problems, lactoferrin testing can be part of a more accurate and cost-effective route to diagnosing the problem and prescribing treatment.

Lactoferrin can be detected using simple and cheap techniques and it has excellent stability in feces over a long period of time.

Questions and Answers on the role of fecal lactoferrin as a biological marker in inflammatory bowel disease. J Gisbert, A McNicholl, and F Gomollon. 2009. Inflamm Bowel Dis 1–9.

Fecal lactoferrin is sensitive and specific for detecting inflammation in chronic IBD.

Fecal lactoferrin is a sensitive and specific marker in identifying intestinal inflammation. S Kane, W Sandborn, P Rufo, A Zholudev, J Boone, D Lyerly, M Camilleri, and S Hanauer. 2003. Am J Gastro 98:6. 1309-1314.

Non–invasive • sensitive • specific • cost–effective


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