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Fecal Lactoferrin


What is the Fecal Lactoferrin Test?

Fecal Lactoferrin (FL) is a protein significantly elevated in many patients with Active Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Fecal Lactoferrin is a marker of Inflammation and is secreted by Leukocytes invading the Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract Walls [5].

Fecal Lactoferrin is used as a non-invasive test to differentiate between IBS and IBD. FL is increased in active IBD but is not elevated in patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). It is therefore a potentially useful indicator, along with fecal calprotectin as to whether someone may have IBD or IBS. In addition, it can be useful in tracking disease activity over time. Elevated fecal lactoferrin levels are also associated with other diseases including as cancer, bacterial infection, and Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) - induced lesions, so it is not used as the sole diagnostic test for IBD.[1][2]

In the event IBD is diagnosed, further testing is required to differentiate Crohn's Disease (CD) from Ulcerative Colitis (UC).[5]

Fecal Lactoferrin is not shown to be elevated in patients with Microscopic Colitis. Thus, a low level of this indicator alone should not be used to make a diagnosis of IBS since Microscopic Colitis can only be diagnosed by biopsy.[3]

How is the Fecal Lactoferrin Test Performed?

The Fecal Lactoferrin test is a non-invasive test. Patients submit a Fecal Sample (Bowel Movement) to the laboratory testing facility. Your doctor may first do testing to ensure your symptoms are not caused by cancer or an infection such as: Parasite (i.e. Entamoeba histolytica, Ascaris lumbricoides), bacteria (i.e. Clostridium difficile) or Virus (i.e. Rotavirus)

The Fecal Lactoferrin test is 90% specific in identifying patients with active IBD.

More Information on Testing in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

For more information on Differentating Inflammatory Bowel Diseases including Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis please visit:
- Prometheus IBD SGI Diagnostic
- Quest Diagnostics Inflammatory Bowel Disease Differentiation Panel


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