The value of biomarker-guided antibiotic therapy

Ellen Haag, Alexandra Molitor, Claudia Gregoriano, Beat Müller, Philipp Schuetz
Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics 2020, 20 (8): 829-840

INTRODUCTION: There is an increasing interest to individualize patient management and decisions regarding antibiotic treatment. Biomarkers may provide relevant information for this purpose.

AREAS COVERED: Despite a growing number of clinical trials investigating several biomarkers, there remain open questions regarding the best type of biomarker, timing or frequency of testing, and optimal cutoffs among others. The most promising results in regard to diagnosis of bacterial infection and therapy monitoring are found for procalcitonin (PCT), although some recent trials were not able to validate the promising earlier findings. Furthermore, less specific markers like C-reactive protein (CRP) and new prognostic biomarkers such as proadrenomedullin (MR-proADM) may improve the prognostic assessment of patients and proteomics may help shorten time to microbiological results. The aim of this review is to summarize the current concept of biomarker-guided management and provide an outlook of promising ongoing investigations.

EXPERT OPINION: 'Antibiotic stewardship' is complex and needs more than just the measurement of one single biomarker. However, when integrated into the context of a thorough clinical examination, standard blood parameters and a well done risk stratification by clinical scores such as the SOFA-score, biomarkers have great potential to improve the diagnostic and prognostic assessment of patients.

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