[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clinical diagnosis of pneumonia is difficult and chest radiographs often indeterminate, leading to incorrect diagnoses and antibiotic overuse.
To determine if serum procalcitonin (ProCT) could assist in managing patients with respiratory illness and indeterminate radiographs.
Subjects were prospectively enrolled during 2 consecutive winters.
A 520-bed hospital in Rochester, NY.
Five hundred twenty-eight adults admitted with acute respiratory illness were enrolled.
Serum ProCT, admission diagnoses, and chest radiographic findings were used to derive receiver operating characteristics curves to assess predictive accuracy of ProCT for the presence of infiltrates.
Subjects with pneumonia had higher ProCT (median 0.27 ng/ml) than those with exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (0.08 ng/ml), acute bronchitis (0.09 ng/ml), or asthma (0.06 ng/ml). ProCT had moderate accuracy for the presence of infiltrates (area under curve [AUC] 0.72), when indeterminate radiographs were independently classified as infiltrates by a pulmonologist evaluating patients.
ProCT may be useful in diagnosing pneumonia when chest radiographs are indeterminate. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2013;8:61–67.
No preview · Article · Feb 2013 · Journal of Hospital Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Serum procalcitonin levels have been used as a biomarker of invasive bacterial infection and recently have been advocated to guide antibiotic therapy in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, rigorous studies correlating procalcitonin levels with microbiologic data are lacking. Acute exacerbations of COPD (AECOPD) have been linked to viral and bacterial infection as well as noninfectious causes. Therefore, we evaluated procalcitonin as a predictor of viral versus bacterial infection in patients hospitalized with AECOPD with and without evidence of pneumonia.
Adults hospitalized during the winter with symptoms consistent with AECOPD underwent extensive testing for viral, bacterial, and atypical pathogens. Serum procalcitonin levels were measured on day 1 (admission), day 2, and at one month. Clinical and laboratory features of subjects with viral and bacterial diagnoses were compared.
In total, 224 subjects with COPD were admitted for 240 respiratory illnesses. Of these, 56 had pneumonia and 184 had AECOPD alone. A microbiologic diagnosis was made in 76 (56%) of 134 illnesses with reliable bacteriology (26 viral infection, 29 bacterial infection, and 21 mixed viral bacterial infection). Mean procalcitonin levels were significantly higher in patients with pneumonia compared with AECOPD. However, discrimination between viral and bacterial infection using a 0.25 ng/mL threshold for bacterial infection in patients with AECOPD was poor.
Procalcitonin is useful in COPD patients for alerting clinicians to invasive bacterial infections such as pneumonia but it does not distinguish bacterial from viral and noninfectious causes of AECOPD.
Preview · Article · Feb 2012 · International Journal of COPD
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Diagnosis of pneumonia in busy emergency rooms is often based on inconclusive CXR readings (edema vs. atelectasis vs. infiltrate) driving unnecessary antibiotic use to meet CMS guidelines. Recently, serum procalcitonin (PCT) has been used to guide antibiotic use in ARI, presumably by identifying bacterial infection (PCT ≥ 0.5 ng/ml). Thus, we correlated serum PCT with CXR findings, specifically to aid in evaluation of inconclusive CXR findings.
Methods: Patients hospitalized for ARI during the winters 2008 and 2009 were recruited. Evaluation included review of CXR reports, measurement of PCT on admission, and viral and bacterial diagnostics. A pulmonologist evaluated all patients and independently read all CXRs. For both the radiologist (RAD) and pulmonologist (PULM), CXRs were classified as (1) no acute disease (NAD), (2) other [i.e., atelectasis, mass, effusion, etc.], (3) possible infiltrate [inconclusive], or (4) infiltrate.
Results: 532 patients with 556 illnesses were recruited, of which 18 were excluded (No CXR or non-pulmonary infection) leaving 538 illnesses for evaluation. CXR reads by RAD were inconclusive in 31% of cases. Readings by PULM were; 31% infiltrates, 54% NAD, 14% other, and 0.9% inconclusive. Mean admission PCT levels were significantly higher in subjects with infiltrates vs. NAD classified by PULM (0.31±1.83 ng/ml vs. 4.84 ± 26.47 ng/ml, p=.004). PCT was >0.5ng/ml in 6% of patients with NAD and 42% of those with infiltrates. All patients with bacteremia had PCT > 0.5ng/ml. Of the 167 inconclusive RAD CXRs, those with PCT ≥ 0.5ng were more likely to have bacterial infections and infiltrates as read by PULM vs. those < 0.5ng/ml. (Table)
PCT ≥ 0.5ng/ml
PCT < 0.5ng/ml
Conclusion: Measurement of serum PCT levels in patients with ARI and inconclusive CXR may be useful in making antibiotic decisions. In stable patients with low PCT and inconclusive CXR findings, appropriate microbiologic specimens should be sought prior to hastily initiating antibiotics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study investigated the effects of intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) and abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS) on gut barrier function in critically ill surgical patients.
A prospective observational cohort study on patients with severe acute pancreatitis or abdominal sepsis admitted to an intensive care or high-dependency unit. Intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) and plasma levels of immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgM antiendotoxin core antibodies (EndoCAb) and procalcitonin (ProCT) were measured serially.
Among 32 recruited patients, 24 (75%) and 8 patients (25%) developed IAH and ACS, respectively. The state of ACS was associated with significant reductions in plasma IgG EndoCAb (P = 0.015) and IgM EndoCAb (P = 0.016) and higher concentrations of plasma ProCT (P = 0.056) compared with absence of ACS. Resolution of IAH and ACS was associated with significant recovery of plasma IgG EndoCAb (P = 0.003 and P = 0.009, respectively) and IgM EndoCAb (P = 0.002 and P = 0.003, respectively) and reduction in plasma ProCT concentration (P = 0.049 and P = 0.019, respectively). Negative correlations were observed between IAP and plasma IgG EndoCAb (P = 0.003) and IgM EndoCAb (P = 0.002).
Intra-abdominal hypertension and ACS are associated with significantly higher endotoxin exposure and ProCT concentrations, suggestive of gut barrier dysfunction. Resolution of IAH and ACS is associated with evidence for recovery of gut barrier function.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Procalcitonin (ProCT) is increased in serum of septic patients and those with systemic inflammation. Endogenous levels of ProCT might influence the response of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs), independently of endotoxin, in clinical disease.
Healthy human volunteers.
Recombinant human ProCT (rhProCT).
Whole blood and PMNs were exposed in vitro to exogenous rhProCT. Interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-13, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα), IL-1β, and macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1β (pg/ml) were measured by multiplex suspension bead-array immunoassay, and migration and phagocytosis were measured in PMNs.
In a whole-blood model, a dose-dependent increase in IL-6, TNFα, and IL-1β of the cell-free supernatant was noted. Pre-incubation with ProCT, at doses consistent with clinical sepsis, resulted in a decrease in PMN migration without alteration in phagocytosis of Staphylococcus aureus or indirect measurements of bacterial killing.
Clinically relevant levels of ProCT influence immunologic responses that may contribute to systemic inflammatory response and septic shock.
No preview · Article · Oct 2010 · Agents and Actions
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The worldwide yearly mortality from sepsis is substantial, greater than that of cancer of the lung and breast combined. Moreover, its incidence is increasing, and its response to therapy has not appreciably improved. In this condition, the secretion of procalcitonin (ProCT), the prohormone of calcitonin, is augmented greatly, attaining levels up to thousands of fold of normal. This hypersecretion emanates from multiple tissues throughout the body that are not traditionally viewed as being endocrine. The serum values of ProCT correlate with the severity of sepsis; they recede with its improvement and worsen with exacerbation. Accordingly, as highlighted in this review, serum ProCT has become useful as a biomarker to assist in the diagnosis of sepsis, as well as related infectious or inflammatory conditions. It is also a useful monitor of the clinical course and prognosis, and sensitive and specific assays have been developed for its measurement. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that the administration of ProCT to septic animals greatly increases mortality, and several toxic effects of ProCT have been elucidated by in vitro experimental studies. Antibodies have been developed that neutralize the harmful effects of ProCT, and their use markedly decreases the symptomatology and mortality of animals that harbour a highly virulent sepsis analogous to that occurring in humans. This therapy is facilitated by the long duration of serum ProCT elevation, which allows for a broad window of therapeutic opportunity. An experimental groundwork has been established that suggests a potential applicability of such therapy in septic humans.
Preview · Article · Nov 2009 · British Journal of Pharmacology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Antibiotics are often administered to adults hospitalized with documented viral respiratory infections due to concern for secondary bacterial infection. Procalcitonin (ProCT) levels are high in most patients with bacterial pneumonitis and may identify patients at low-risk for bacterial complications, thus avoiding antibiotics. Methods: Admission C-reactive protein (CRP), copeptin and ProCT levels (sensitive Kryptor assay; BRAHMS) were measured in patients with acute respiratory symptoms. Of 70 patients evaluated, 34 had virus infection alone, 9 had bacteremia (6 with viral infection), and 27 had adequate sputum samples with bacterial growth (17 with viral infection). Results: ProCT, Copeptin and CRP values for those with virus-infection alone were lower than for those with bacteremia (P <.001).
(n=9) Bacteria in sputum
6.0 ± 6.6
23.3 ± 13.7
10.4 ± 10.0
167.6 ± 19.6
61.2 ± 3.0
0.7 ± 2.3
19.0 ± 25.9
2.0 ± 5.0
Using a ProCT value of < 0.5 ng/ml to categorize viral infected subjects at low risk for bacterial infection, 0/9 bacteremic patients and 28/34 (82%) in the virus alone group would be categorized (P=.0002), as would 12/17 (71%) viral infected subjects with bacteria in sputum. Of these 12 low-bacterial risk patients, 8 had no acute disease or only questionable infiltrates on chest radiographs. Using a CRP cut off < 5 μg/ml or copeptin of < 20 pmol/L, none of the bacteremic group would be classified as low risk, but only 14/34(41%) or 23/34(68%), respectively, in the viral alone group would be considered low risk for bacterial infection. Combinations of markers did not improve specificity. Conclusion: Our data indicate that ProCT is superior to CRP and copeptin in assessing risk for bacterial infection in virus infected persons and may be useful in conjunction with clinical parameters.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sepsis is a major cause of death in the United States and accounts for approximately 50% of the fatalities in intensive care units. Serum procalcitonin (ProCT) levels are markedly elevated in sepsis and correlate positively with severity of the illness and mortality, however, little is known about the biological activity of ProCT.
To explore the biological activity of purified human ProCT at the calcitonin (CT) family of receptors.
Human ProCT was purified from the TT medullary thyroid carcinoma cell line. Human CTa receptor or human CT receptor-like receptor (CLR) was transiently expressed in COS-7 cells alone or together with individual receptor activity-modifying proteins (RAMPs) to generate the CTa (CT) receptor, the AMY1 (amylin) receptor, the CGRP1 (CT gene-related peptide) receptor, and the AM1 and AM2 (adrenomedullin) receptors. Biological activity of ProCT was assessed by measurement of cAMP accumulation.
ProCT was effectively inert at CTa, AM1, and AM2 receptors. In contrast, it was a potent partial agonist (50-60% of the CGRP efficacy) of the CGRP1 receptor with an EC50 as high as 0.56 nM, although the potency was batch dependent. ProCT also displayed weak partial agonist activity at the AMY1 receptor with an EC50 of approximately 100 nM. Moreover, ProCT also robustly inhibited CGRP-dependent cyclic adenosine monophosphate responses at the CGRP1 receptor.
Our data provide a potential molecular mechanism for the observation that ProCT appears to be toxic while CGRP treatment appears to be beneficial in animal models of sepsis.
No preview · Article · Jun 2008 · Critical care medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The use of procalcitonin (ProCT) as a marker of several clinical conditions, in particular, systemic inflammation, infection, and sepsis, will be clarified, and its current limitations will be delineated. In particular, the need for a more sensitive assay will be emphasized. For these purposes, the medical literature comprising clinical studies pertaining to the measurement of serum ProCT in various clinical settings was examined.
A PubMed search (1965 through November 2007) was conducted, including manual cross-referencing. Pertinent complete publications were obtained using the MeSH terms procalcitonin, C-reactive protein, sepsis, and biological markers. Textbook chapters were also read and extracted.
Available clinical and other patient data from these sources were reviewed, including any data relating to precipitating factors, clinical findings, associated illnesses, and patient outcome. Published data concerning sensitivity, specificity, and reproducibility of ProCT assays were reviewed.
Based on available data, the measurement of serum ProCT has definite utility as a marker of severe systemic inflammation, infection, and sepsis. However, publications concerning its diagnostic and prognostic utility are contradictory. In addition, patient characteristics and clinical settings vary markedly, and the data have been difficult to interpret and often extrapolated inappropriately to clinical usage. Furthermore, attempts at meta-analyses are greatly compromised by the divergent circumstances of reported studies and by the sparsity and different timing of the ProCT assays. Although a high ProCT commonly occurs in infection, it is also elevated in some noninfectious conditions. Thus, the test is not a specific indicator of either infection or sepsis. Moreover, in any individual patient, the precipitating cause of an illness, the clinical milieu, and complicating conditions may render tenuous any reliable estimations of severity or prognosis. It also is apparent that even a febrile septic patient with documented bacteremia may not necessarily have a serum ProCT that is elevated above the limit of functional sensitivity of the assay. In this regard, the most commonly applied assay (i.e., LUMItest) is insufficiently sensitive to detect potentially important mild elevations or trends. Clinical studies with a more sensitive ProCT assay that is capable of rapid and practicable day-to-day monitoring are needed and shortly may be available. In addition, investigations showing that ProCT and its related peptides may have mediator relevance point to the need for evaluating therapeutic countermeasures and studying the pathophysiologic effect of hyperprocalcitonemia in serious infection and sepsis.
No preview · Article · Apr 2008 · Critical care medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Children with cancer often develop febrile illnesses after cytotoxic chemotherapy. Determining which children have serious bacterial infections in this vulnerable period would be valuable. We evaluated the ability of a rapid and sensitive assay for the concentration of calcitonin precursors (CTpr) as a sensitive diagnostic marker for bacterial sepsis in febrile, neutropenic children and determined the utility of measuring cytokines to improve the predictive value of this approach.
Prospective cohort study.
Academic children's hospital.
Fifty-six children (aged 5 months to 17 yrs) with a known malignancy who presented with fever and neutropenia.
Serial blood samples were obtained (admission, 24 hrs, and 48 hrs), and concentrations of CTpr, interleukin-6, and interleukin-8 were determined. Demographic and laboratory data from the patients were collected from the medical record.
Sixteen (29%) of the children met the criteria for bacterial sepsis. Plasma levels of CTpr and interleukin-8, but not interleukin-6, were increased at all time points in children with sepsis compared with those without sepsis. CTpr at 24 and 48 hrs after admission were reliable markers for sepsis (area under the curve = 0.92 and 0.908, respectively). Logistic regression using CTpr at 24 hrs in addition to interleukin-8 at 48 hrs produced the best-fit models associated with sepsis. Using cutoff values of CTpr >500 pg/mL and interleukin-8 >20 pg/mL produced a screening test for sepsis with 94% sensitivity and 90% specificity.
Our data show the utility of a rapid and sensitive assay for CTpr combined with interleukin-8 as a highly sensitive and specific diagnostic marker of bacterial sepsis in febrile, neutropenic children. The use of these markers as a clinical tool may allow for better prognostication for clinicians and may eventually lead to more targeted therapies for this heterogeneous population.
No preview · Article · Apr 2005 · Pediatric Critical Care Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Severe acute pancreatitis is associated with an early increase in intestinal permeability and endotoxemia. Endotoxin is a potent stimulator for the production and release of procalcitonin and its components (calcitonin precursors; [CTpr]). The aim of this study is to evaluate the role of plasma CTpr as an early marker for gut barrier dysfunction in patients with acute pancreatitis.
Intestinal permeability to macromolecules (polyethylene glycol 3350), serum endotoxin and antiendotoxin core antibodies, plasma CTpr, and serum C-reactive protein (CRP) were measured on admission in 60 patients with acute pancreatitis. Attacks were classified as mild (n = 48) or severe (n = 12) according to the Atlanta criteria.
Compared with mild attacks of acute pancreatitis, severe attacks were significantly associated with an increase in intestinal permeability index (median: 0.02 vs. 0.006, P < 0.001), the frequency of endotoxemia (73% vs. 41%, P = 0.04), and the extent of depletion of serum IgM antiendotoxin antibodies (median: 43 MMU vs. 100 MMU, P = 0.004). Plasma CTpr levels were significantly elevated in patients with severe attacks compared with mild attacks on both the day of admission and on day 3 (median: 64 vs. 22 fmol/mL, P = 0.03; and 90 vs. 29 fmol/mL, P = 0.003 respectively). A positive and significant correlation was observed between the admission serum endotoxin and plasma CTpr levels on admission (r = 0.7, P < 0.0001) and on day 3 (r = 0.96, P < 0.0001), and between plasma CTpr on day 7 and the intestinal permeability index (r = 0.85, P = 0.0001). In contrast, only a weak positive correlation was observed between peak serum levels of CRP and plasma CTpr on admission (r = 0.3, P = 0.017) and on day 7 (r = 0.471, P = 0.049), as well as between CRP and each of the admission serum endotoxin (r = 0.3, P = 0.03) and the intestinal permeability index (r = 0.375, P = 0.007).
In patients with acute pancreatitis, plasma concentrations of CTpr appear to reflect more closely the derangement in gut barrier function rather than the extent of systemic inflammation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hormonal serum marker for the presence and course of patients with medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) is the mature calcitonin (CT) peptide. Other CALC-1 gene products such as the 116-amino acid polypeptide prohormone, procalcitonin, as well as its component calcitonin precursors (CTpr) may also be increased in their sera. We performed a study to evaluate the clinical utility of serum levels CTpr in these patients.
Twenty-one patients with MTC (9 males, 12 females; 23-76 years of age) were evaluated. The diagnosis was confirmed by histologic examination, except for 2 (a proven RET mutation plus an abnormal pentagastrin-stimulated CT level). Nine patients had postoperative hypercalcitoninemia and 3 of these died. The specific assay for mature CT was a commercial immunoradiometric assay (hCT-IRMA); the immunoluminometric assay for CTpr (B.R.A.H.M.S Diagnostica, Berlin, Germany) detects intact procalcitonin and the free CT:CT carboxypeptide-1.
All patients had detectable serum CTpr. These levels considerably exceeded those of mature CT, averaging 7.6-fold greater. CTpr levels correlated positively with mature CT (r = 0.61; p < 0.001). After pentagastrin administration, there was a parallelism of response between the two assays. Whenever there were known metastases, CTpr increased markedly.
This study demonstrates the universal presence of CTpr in the blood of patients with MTC. The measurement of these peptides may offer a new dimension to the clinical evaluation of this malignancy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calcitonin precursors are sensitive markers of inflammation and infection. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of plasma calcitonin precursor levels on the day of admission in the prediction of severity of acute pancreatitis, and to compare this with the Acute Physiology And Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II scoring system.
Plasma concentrations of calcitonin precursors were determined on admission in 69 patients with acute pancreatitis. APACHE II scores were calculated on admission. Attacks were classified as mild (n = 55) or severe (n = 14) according to the Atlanta criteria. Plasma calcitonin precursor levels were determined with a sensitive radioimmunoassay.
On the day of hospital admission, plasma levels of calcitonin precursors were significantly greater in patients with a severe attack compared with levels in those with a mild attack of pancreatitis (median 64 versus 25 fmol/ml; P = 0.014), but the APACHE II scores were no different (median 9 versus 8; P = 0.2). The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive and negative predictive values, and accuracy for the prediction of severe acute pancreatitis were 67, 89, 57, 93 and 85 per cent respectively for plasma calcitonin precursor levels higher than 48 fmol/ml, and 69, 45, 23, 86 and 50 per cent respectively for an APACHE II score greater than 7. Differences in the specificity and accuracy of the two prognostic indicators were significant (P < 0.001 and P = 0.001 respectively). A plasma calcitonin precursor concentration of more than 160 fmol/ml on admission was highly accurate (94 per cent) in predicting the development of septic complications and death.
The assay of plasma calcitonin precursors on the day of admission to hospital has the potential to provide a more accurate prediction of the severity of acute pancreatitis than the APACHE II scoring system.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2003 · British Journal of Surgery
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prior studies have demonstrated that the prohormone, procalcitonin (ProCT), and its component calcitonin precursors (CTpr) are increased in the serum of septic patients, correlate with the severity of the illness, and persist for relatively long periods of time. Animal studies in septic hamsters have revealed that the administration of ProCT is toxic and that immunoneutralization with IgG that is reactive to this molecule significantly improves survival. A large animal model of a very rapidly lethal polymicrobial sepsis has been developed in the pig in order to measure continuous physiological and metabolic parameters and also to compare the effects in this animal of an immunoneutralization, which is performed late in the course of the disease, to an identical, but early, therapy. Based upon the physiological and metabolic parameters, the late therapy, which was initiated during the fourth hour at a time when pigs were nearly moribund, was found to be as beneficial as early therapy. In both late and early therapy, the only animals to survive at the predetermined time of euthanasia were those which had received immunoneutralization therapy.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2003 · Journal of Endotoxin Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The 116 amino acid prohormone procalcitonin and some of its component peptides (collectively termed calcitonin precursors) are important markers and mediators of sepsis. In this study, we sought to evaluate the effect of immunoneutralization of calcitonin precursors on metabolic and physiologic variables of sepsis in a porcine model.
A prospective, controlled animal study.
A university research laboratory.
30-kg Yorkshire pigs.
Sepsis was induced in 15 pigs by intraperitoneal instillation of a suspension of cecal content (1 g/kg animal body weight) and a toxinogenic Escherichia coli solution (2 x 10(11) colony-forming units). During induction of sepsis, seven pigs received an intravenous infusion of purified rabbit antiserum, reactive to the aminoterminal portion of porcine prohormone procalcitonin. Another eight control pigs received an intravenous infusion of purified nonreactive rabbit antiserum. For all 15 animals, physiologic data (urine output, core temperature, arterial pressure, heart rate, cardiac index, and stroke volume index) and metabolic data (serum blood urea nitrogen and creatinine, arterial lactate, and pH) were collected or recorded hourly until death at 15 hrs.
In this large-animal model of rapidly lethal peritonitis, serum calcitonin precursors were significantly elevated. Amino-prohormone procalcitonin-reactive antiserum administration resulted in a significant improvement or a beneficial trend in a majority of the measured physiologic and metabolic derangements induced by sepsis. Specifically, arterial pressure, cardiac index, stroke volume index, pH, and creatinine were all significantly improved, while urine output and serum lactate had beneficial trends. Treated animals also experienced a statistically significant increase of short-term survival.
These data from a large-animal model with polymicrobial sepsis demonstrate the salutary effect of early immunoneutralization of calcitonin precursors on physiologic and metabolic variables. Immunologic blockade of calcitonin precursors may offer a novel therapeutic approach to human sepsis.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2002 · Critical Care Medicine