BACKGROUND: Measuring calprotectin concentration in stool is increasingly important in monitoring disease activity and treatment response in inflammatory bowel disease. This study evaluates the impact of preanalytical storage conditions on reliability of calprotectin testing using 5 different calprotectin immunoassays. METHODS: Aliquots of homogenized fresh fecal samples in untreated or extracted form were stored at room temperature or 4°C. Calprotectin concentration was measured day 0 to 4 and 8. Five different immunoassays and accompanying extraction buffers were used (CALiaGold, Phadia EliA, Bühlmann fCal turbo, ELISA Bühlmann, Inova Quanta Flash). Repeated measurements of change from baseline calprotectin levels over time were analyzed using a mixed model analysis. RESULTS: Calprotectin concentrations declined over time under all preanalytical conditions with all assays, except for extracted feces stored at 4°C. The rate of decline was greatest in untreated stool kept at room temperature, reaching significant difference from baseline already after 1 day (P < 0.001). In extracted feces kept at room temperature, significant difference from baseline was reached after 2 days, and in untreated feces at 4°C, after 4 days. However, the results differed significantly between assays. After 4 days of storage at room temperature, the mean calprotectin decline from baseline differed between 30% and 60%, dependent on the assay used. CONCLUSIONS: Fecal calprotectin concentration in stool samples declines over time, and the rate of decline is greater at higher temperatures. In extracted feces stored at 4°C, calprotectin is most stable. It is assay-dependent how long extracted feces stored at 4°C give reliable test results.