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Can C-reactive protein be used as a surrogate marker of IL-6 in a broad array of clinical entities?

Biomarkers in Medicine 2024 January 19
Background: C-reactive protein (CRP) is commonly performed, whereas cytokine testing is limited to research. Aims: To determine CRP correlation to cytokines IL-6, IL-1β and TNF-α. Results:  Consecutive samples (n = 307) were collected over 24 h. Ninety-six patients (31%) had acute infections, and 23 patients (7.5%) had autoimmune or inflammatory disease presentations. A strong correlation between CRP and two IL-6 assays (r = 0.74 and r = 0.71; p < 0.001) was present. CRP did not correlate with IL-1β and TNF-α across the data set. Bacterial infection had a significantly higher CRP and IL-6 (p < 0.001), while only CRP was elevated in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases (p < 0.001). Discussion: CRP may be used as a surrogate marker of IL-6 levels in the routine diagnostic laboratories.

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