Usefulness of suPAR as a biological marker in patients with systemic inflammation or infection: A systematic review

Yara Backes, Koenraad F. Van Der Sluijs, David P. Mackie, Frank Tacke, Alexander Koch, Jyrki J. Tenhunen, Marcus J. Schultz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

199 Scopus citations


Purpose: Systemic levels of soluble urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) positively correlate with the activation level of the immune system. We reviewed the usefulness of systemic levels of suPAR in the care of critically ill patients with sepsis, SIRS, and bacteremia, focusing on its diagnostic and prognostic value. Methods: A PubMed search on suPAR was conducted, including manual cross-referencing. The list of papers was narrowed to original studies of critically ill patients. Ten papers on original studies of critically ill patients were identified that report on suPAR in sepsis, SIRS, or bacteremia. Results: Systematic levels of suPAR have little diagnostic value in critically ill patients with sepsis, SIRS, or bacteremia. Systemic levels of suPAR, however, have superior prognostic power over other commonly used biological markers in these patients. Mortality prediction by other biological markers or severityofdisease classification system scores improves when combining them with suPAR. Systemic levels of suPAR correlate positively with markers of organ dysfunction and severity-of-disease classification system scores. Finally, systemic levels of suPAR remain elevated for prolonged periods after admission and only tend to decline after several weeks. Notably, the type of assay used to measure suPAR as well as the age of the patients and underlying disease affect systemic levels of suPAR. Conclusions: The diagnostic value of suPAR is low in patients with sepsis. Systemic levels of suPAR have prognostic value, and may add to prognostication of patients with sepsis or SIRS complementing severityofdisease classification systems and other biological markers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1418-1428
Number of pages11
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomarker
  • Critical illness
  • Intensive care
  • Sepsis
  • Soluble uPAR
  • Soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR)


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