Aim: In the current study we aimed to evaluate the role of trefoil factor 3 (TFF3) as a marker for complete mucosal healing (MH) in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC).
Methods: We enrolled 116 consecutive UC patients. Trefoil factor 3 levels were measured by ELISA and were compared to the clinical activity, assessed by Lichtiger Index, fecal calprotectin (FCP) and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. Colonoscopy was performed in all the patients and the findings were graded according to Mayo endoscopic score (EMS) and UC endoscopic index of severity (UCEIS).
Results: Trefoil factor 3 levels were significantly correlated with Lichtiger Index (r=0.736, p<0.001), EMS (r=0.811, p<0.001), UCEIS (r=0.820, p<0.001), FCP (r=0.696, p<0.001) and CRP (r=0.405, p<0.001). The TFF3 cut-off level of 6.74 ng/ml indicated complete MH (EMS=0; UCEIS=0) with a sensitivity and specificity of 0.879 and 0.869, respectively (area under the curve, AUC 0.927; 95% confidence interval, 0.877–0.976). The DeLong’s test revealed no significant difference between the AUC of TFF3+CRP and the AUC of FCP (Z=1.717, p=0.086), AUC of TFF3+FCP (Z=1.908, p=0.056), and AUC of TFF3+CRP+FCPP (Z=1.915, p=0.056). However, the AUC of TFF3+CRP showed significant difference compared with the AUC of TFF3 (Z=2.210, p=0.027) and the AUC of CRP (Z=3.145, p=0.002) for predicting complete MH.
Conclusions: Trefoil factor 3 levels correlated significantly with clinical activity, endoscopic indices, CRP and FCP in our patients. TFF3 is a highly predictive marker of complete MH independently and in combination with CRP in patients with UC.


inflammatory bowel diseases, biomarkers, fecal calprotectin, trefoil factor 3