Background: Calprotectin is a well-established marker for intestinal inflammation, mainly in inflammatory bowel disease, and represents one of the most studied biomarkers in stool samples.
Methods: Apart from its important diagnostic role in inflammatory bowel disease, there are few studies showing that calprotectin can also be used as a diagnostic tool in patients suffering from hepatic encephalopathy (HE) and spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) in cirrhosis.
Results: Since calprotectin concentration in the human stool or in ascites is elevated at an early stage of inflammation, it might serve as an early screening tool for patients suffering from cirrhosis who are at risk to develop these conditions. As detection and monitoring of HE and SBP may be unclear and resource-intensive, identification of valid new markers of disease activity is necessary. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of calprotectin as a diagnostic biomarker in cirrhosis, indicating that it is a highly promising diagnostic surrogate marker to screen for the presence of HE and SBP.
Conclusions: To screen cirrhotic patients for SBP, calprotectin should be assessed in ascitic fluid while it should be measured in feces when screening for HE. However, the value of calprotectin in managing individual patients must be considered in the specific clinical context.