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Accuracy of circulating placental growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 and soluble endoglin in the prediction of pre-eclampsia: a systematic review and meta-analysis

C E Kleinrouweler, M M J Wiegerinck, C Ris-Stalpers, P M M Bossuyt, J A M van der Post, P von Dadelszen, B W J Mol, E Pajkrt
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2012, 119 (7): 778-87
22433027

BACKGROUND: Biomarkers have been proposed for identification of women at increased risk of developing pre-eclampsia.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the capacity of circulating placental growth factor (PlGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFLT1) and soluble endoglin (sENG) to predict pre-eclampsia.

SEARCH STRATEGY: Medline and Embase through October 2010 and reference lists of reviews, without constraints.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We included original publications on testing of PlGF, VEGF, sFLT1 and sENG in serum or plasma of pregnant women at <30 weeks of gestation and before clinical onset of pre-eclampsia.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two reviewers independently identified eligible studies, extracted descriptive and test accuracy data and assessed methodological quality. Summary estimates of discriminatory performance were obtained.

MAIN RESULTS: We included 34 studies. Concentrations of PlGF (27 studies) and VEGF (three studies) were lower in women who developed pre-eclampsia: standardised mean differences (SMD) -0.56 (95% CI -0.77 to -0.35) and -1.25 (95% CI -2.73 to 0.23). Concentrations of sFLT1 (19 studies) and sENG (ten studies) were higher: SMD 0.48 (95% CI 0.21-0.75) and SMD 0.54 (95% CI 0.24-0.84). The summary diagnostic odds ratios were: PlGF 9.0 (95% CI 5.6-14.5), sFLT1 6.6 (95% CI 3.1-13.7), sENG 4.2 (95% CI 2.4-7.2), which correspond to sensitivities of 32%, 26% and 18%, respectively, for a 5% false-positive rate.

AUTHOR'S CONCLUSIONS: PlGF, sFLT1 and sENG showed modest but significantly different concentrations before 30 weeks of gestation in women who developed pre-eclampsia. Test accuracies of all four markers, however, are too poor for accurate prediction of pre-eclampsia in clinical practice.

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