Faecal scent as a novel non-invasive biomarker to discriminate between coeliac disease and refractory coeliac disease: A proof of principle study

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Currently, the gold standard for diagnosis of coeliac disease (CD) is based on serology and gastroduodenoscopy with histology of duodenal mucosal biopsies. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential of faecal volatile organic compounds (VOCs) analysis as a novel, non-invasive tool to discriminate between CD in remission in patients on a gluten-free diet (GFD), refractory coeliac disease (RCD) and controls without CD. Patients with an established diagnosis of CD on a GFD, RCD and healthy controls (HC) were instructed to collect a faecal sample. All subjects completed questionnaires on clinical symptoms, lifestyle and dietary information. Faecal VOCs were measured using gas chromatography-ion mobility spectrometry. A total of 13 CD, 7 RCD and 10 HC were included. A significant difference in VOC profiles between CD and RCD patients (area under the curve (AUC) ± 95% CI: 0.91 (0.79–1) p = 0.000) and between CD and HC (AUC ± 95% CI: 0.71 (0.51–0.91) p = 0.0254) was observed. We found no significant differences between faecal VOC patterns of HC and RCD. Based on faecal VOCs, CD could be discriminated from RCD and HC. This implies that faecal VOC analysis may hold potential as a novel non-invasive biomarker for RCD. Future studies should encompass a larger cohort to further investigate and validate this prior to application in clinical practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article number69
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

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