Mucosal healing (MH) is the key therapeutic target of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The evaluation of MH remains challenging, with endoscopy being the golden standard. We performed a comprehensive overview of the performance of fecal-, serum-, and urine-based biochemical markers in colonic IBD to find out whether we are ready to replace endoscopy with a non-invasive but equally accurate instrument. A Pubmed, Web of Knowledge, and Scopus search of original articles as potential MH markers in adults, published between January 2009 and March 2020, was conducted. Finally, 84 eligible studies were identified. The most frequently studied fecal marker was calprotectin (44 studies), with areas under the curves (AUCs) ranging from 0.70 to 0.99 in ulcerative colitis (UC) and from 0.70 to 0.94 in Crohn`s disease (CD), followed by lactoferrin (4 studies), matrix metalloproteinase-9 (3 studies), and lipocalin-2 (3 studies). The most frequently studied serum marker was C-reactive protein (30 studies), with AUCs ranging from 0.60 to 0.96 in UC and from 0.64 to 0.93 in CD. Fecal calprotectin is an accurate MH marker in IBD in adults; however, it cannot replace endoscopy and the application of calprotectin is hampered by the lack of standardization concerning the cut-off value. Other markers are either not sufficiently accurate or have not been studied extensively enough.
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