Latest Papers

Leukemia. 2018 Jun 27. [Epub ahead of print]

A prospective study on serum Cytokeratin (CK)-18 and CK18 fragments as biomarkers of acute hepato-intestinal GVHD.


Apoptotic intestinal crypt cells are pathognomonic of acute intestinal graft versus host disease (GVHD). Serum levels of the apoptotic degradation product cytokeratin-18 fragments (CK18F) were associated with acute hepato-intestinal GVHD. Here we present a prospective clinical observational trial (NCT00935324) investigating serum levels of total CK18 (tCK18) and apoptotic CK18F to predict imminent acute hepato-intestinal GVHD and response to treatment. Total (t)CK18 and CK18F kinetics were measured before transplantation and in weekly intervals thereafter. In total 109 patients were enrolled. Acute hepato-intestinal GVHD grade I-IV was suspected in 36 patients (33%) at a median of 56 days post-transplant, 12 of these patients developed steroid-refractory GVHD. Both tCK18 and apoptotic CK18F increased at GVHD onset, and distinguished patients with suspected acute hepato-intestinal GVHD who were negative in intestinal histology. In patients with clinical acute hepato-intestinal GVHD, tCK18 significantly raised already 7-14 days before symptom onset. In receiver operator characteristics, areas under the curve at GVHD onset were 0.927 (p < 0.001) for tCK18 and 0.875 (p < 0.001) for apoptotic CK18F for patients with proven hepato-intestinal acute GVHD. This prospective study validates CK18F and highlights tCK18 as specific biomarkers suitable for improving prediction and diagnosis of suspected imminent and clinically manifest acute hepato-intestinal GVHD.

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Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Feb;3(2):104-113

Risk stratification after paracetamol overdose using mechanistic biomarkers: results from two prospective cohort studies.


Paracetamol overdose is common but patient stratification is suboptimal. We investigated the usefulness of new biomarkers that have either enhanced liver specificity (microRNA-122 [miR-122]) or provide mechanistic insights (keratin-18 [K18], high mobility group box-1 [HMGB1], and glutamate dehydrogenase [GLDH]). The use of these biomarkers could help stratify patients for their risk of liver injury at hospital presentation.


Using data from two prospective cohort studies, we assessed the potential for biomarkers to stratify patients who overdose with paracetamol. We completed two independent prospective studies: a derivation study (MAPP) in eight UK hospitals and a validation study (BIOPAR) in ten UK hospitals. Patients in both cohorts were adults (≥18 years in England, ≥16 years in Scotland), were diagnosed with paracetamol overdose, and gave written informed consent. Patients who needed intravenous acetylcysteine treatment for paracetamol overdose had circulating biomarkers measured at hospital presentation. The primary endpoint was acute liver injury indicating need for continued acetylcysteine treatment beyond the standard course (alanine aminotransferase [ALT] activity >100 U/L). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves, category-free net reclassification index (cfNRI), and integrated discrimination index (IDI) were applied to assess endpoint prediction.


Between June 2, 2010, and May 29, 2014, 1187 patients who required acetylcysteine treatment for paracetamol overdose were recruited (985 in the MAPP cohort; 202 in the BIOPAR cohort).
In the derivation and validation cohorts, acute liver injury was predicted at hospital presentation by miR-122 (derivation cohort ROC-area under the curve [AUC] 0·97 [95% CI 0·95-0·98]), HMGB1 (0·95 [0·93-0·98]),
and full-length K18 (0·95 [0·92-0·97]). Results were similar in the validation cohort (miR-122 AUC 0·97 [95% CI 0·95-0·99], HMGB1 0·98 [0·96-0·99], and full-length K18 0·93 [0·86-0·99]).
A combined model of miR-122, HMGB1, and K18 predicted acute liver injury better than ALT alone (cfNRI 1·95 [95% CI 1·87-2·03], p<0·0001 in the MAPP cohort; 1·54 [1·08-2·00], p<0·0001 in the BIOPAR cohort).


Personalised treatment pathways could be developed by use of miR-122, HMGB1, and full-length K18 at hospital presentation for patient stratification. This prospective study supports their use for hepatic safety assessment of new medicines.

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