Diagnostic accuracy of urinary intestinal fatty acid binding protein in detecting colorectal anastomotic leakage

V. D. Plat, J. P.M. Derikx, A. C. Jongen, K. Nielsen, D. J.A. Sonneveld, J. J.C. Tersteeg, R. M.P.H. Crolla, D. A. van Dam, H. A. Cense, T. G.J. de Meij, J. B. Tuynman, N. K.H. de Boer, F. Daams

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Background: Anastomotic leakage (AL) remains a severe complication following colorectal surgery, having a negative impact on both short- and long-term outcomes. Since timely detection could enable early intervention, there is a need for the development of novel and accurate, preferably, non-invasive markers. The aim of this study was to investigate whether urinary intestinal fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP) could serve as such a marker. Methods: This prospective multicenter cross-sectional phase two diagnostic study was conducted at four centers in the Netherlands between March 2015 and November 2016. Urine samples of 15 patients with confirmed colorectal AL and 19 patients without colorectal AL on postoperative day 3 were included. Urinary I-FABP levels were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and adjusted for urinary creatinine to compensate for renal dysfunction. Results: Urinary I-FABP levels were significantly elevated in patients with confirmed AL compared to patients without AL on postoperative day 3 (median: 2.570 ng/ml vs 0.809 ng/ml, p = 0.006). The area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (AUROC) was 0.775, yielding a sensitivity of 80% and specificity of 74% at the optimal cutoff point (> 1.589 ng/ml). This difference remained significant after calculation of I-FABP/creatinine ratios (median: 0.564 ng/µmol vs. 0.158 ng/µmol, p = 0.040), with an AUROC of 0.709, sensitivity of 60% and specificity of 90% at the optimal cutoff point (> 0.469 ng/µmol). Conclusions: Levels of urinary I-FABP and urinary I-FABP/creatinine were significantly elevated in patients with confirmed AL following colorectal surgery, suggesting their potential as a non-invasive biomarker for colorectal anastomotic leakage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-454
Number of pages6
JournalTechniques in coloproctology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • Anastomotic leakage
  • Colorectal surgery
  • Intestinal fatty acid binding protein
  • Urinary biomarker

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