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BackgroundSuccess in personalized medicine in complex disease is critically dependent on biomarker discovery. We profiled serum proteins using a novel proximity extension assay [PEA] to identify diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers in inflammatory bowel disease [IBD].MethodsWe conducted a prospective case-control study in an inception cohort of 552 patients [328 IBD, 224 non-IBD], profiling proteins recruited across six centres. Treatment escalation was characterized by the need for biological agents or surgery after initial disease remission. Nested leave-one-out cross-validation was used to examine the performance of diagnostic and prognostic proteins.ResultsA total of 66 serum proteins differentiated IBD from symptomatic non-IBD controls, including matrix metallopeptidase-12 [MMP-12; Holm-adjusted p = 4.1 × 10-23] and oncostatin-M [OSM; p = 3.7 × 10-16]. Nine of these proteins are associated with cis-germline variation [59 independent single nucleotide polymorphisms]. Fifteen proteins, all members of tumour necrosis factor-independent pathways including interleukin-1 (IL-1) and OSM, predicted escalation, over a median follow-up of 518 [interquartile range 224-756] days. Nested cross-validation of the entire data set allowed characterization of five-protein models [96% comprising five core proteins ITGAV, EpCAM, IL18, SLAMF7 and IL8], which define a high-risk subgroup in IBD [hazard ratio 3.90, confidence interval: 2.43-6.26], or allowed distinct two- and three-protein models for ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease respectively.ConclusionWe have characterized a simple oligo-protein panel that has the potential to identify IBD from symptomatic controls and to predict future disease course. Further prospective work is required to validate our findings.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Crohn's & colitis

Publication Date





699 - 708


Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, UK.


Humans, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Blood Proteins, Prognosis, Case-Control Studies, Prospective Studies, Proteomics, Adult, Female, Male, Biomarkers