In an effort to develop a molecular classification scheme for Crohn's disease (CD), mucosal biopsies from 69 CD patients and 28 normal controls were analyzed for expression of the RelA subunit of nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB, A20 (a negative regulator of NF-kappaB), polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (pIgR), tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and interleukin (IL)-8. Principal component analysis was used to classify individuals into three subsets based on patterns of biomarker expression. Set 1 included normal subjects and CD patients with mild disease and good responses to therapy, thus defining "normal" biomarker expression. CD patients in set 2, characterized by low expression of all five biomarkers, had moderate to severe disease and poor responses to immunosuppressive and anti-TNF therapy. Patients in set 3, characterized by low expression of RelA, A20, and pIgR, normal TNF and elevated IL-8, had acute inflammation that responded well to therapy. Classification of CD patients by these biomarkers may predict disease behavior and responses to therapy.