Can changes in angiogenic biomarkers between the first and second trimesters of pregnancy predict development of pre-eclampsia in a low-risk nulliparous patient population?

L Myatt, R G Clifton, J M Roberts, C Y Spong, R J Wapner, J M Thorp, B M Mercer, A M Peaceman, S M Ramin, M W Carpenter, A Sciscione, J E Tolosa, G Saade, Y Sorokin, G D Anderson
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2013, 120 (10): 1183-91

OBJECTIVE: To determine if change in maternal angiogenic biomarkers between the first and second trimesters predicts pre-eclampsia in low-risk nulliparous women.

DESIGN: A nested case-control study of change in maternal plasma soluble Flt-1 (sFlt-1), soluble endoglin (sEng) and placenta growth factor (PlGF). We studied 158 pregnancies complicated by pre-eclampsia and 468 normotensive nonproteinuric controls.

SETTING: A multicentre study in 16 academic medical centres in the USA.

POPULATION: Low-risk nulliparous women.

METHODS: Luminex assays for PlGF, sFlt-1 and sEng performed on maternal EDTA plasma collected at 9-12, 15-18 and 23-26 weeks of gestation. Rate of change of analyte between first and either early or late second trimester was calculated with and without adjustment for baseline clinical characteristics.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Change in PlGF, sFlt-1 and sEng.

RESULTS: Rates of change of PlGF, sEng and sFlt-1 between first and either early or late second trimesters were significantly different in women who developed pre-eclampsia, severe pre-eclampsia or early-onset pre-eclampsia compared with women who remained normotensive. Inclusion of clinical characteristics (race, body mass index and blood pressure at entry) increased sensitivity for detecting severe and particularly early-onset pre-eclampsia but not pre-eclampsia overall. Receiver operating characteristics curves for change from first to early second trimester in sEng, PlGF and sFlt-1 with clinical characteristics had areas under the curve of 0.88, 0.84 and 0.86, respectively, and for early-onset pre-eclampsia with sensitivities of 88% (95% CI 64-99), 77% (95% CI 50-93) and 77% (95% CI 50-93) for 80% specificity, respectively. Similar results were seen in the change from first to late second trimester.

CONCLUSION: Change in angiogenic biomarkers between first and early second trimester combined with clinical characteristics has strong utility for predicting early-onset pre-eclampsia.

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