Acute phase markers for the differentiation of infectious and malignant pleural effusions
AuthorKiropoulos, T. S.; Kostikas, K.; Oikonomidi, S.; Tsilioni, I.; Nikoulis, D.; Germenis, A.; Gourgoulianis, K. I.
Acute-phase markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), have been studied in inflammatory and malignant disorders. We examined the diagnostic value of these markers for the differentiation among parapneumonic, tuberculous and malignant effusions. We studied 124 patients with pleural effusions, classified as exudates [total (n=97), parapneumonic (n=15), tuberculous (n=25), malignant (n=57)] and transudates due to congestive heart failure (n=27). CRP, IL-6 and TNF-α were measured in pleural fluid and serum. Pleural fluid CRP was higher in parapneumonic compared to tuberculous and malignant effusions, providing 100% sensitivity for a cut-off point of 5.3 mg/dL. IL-6 was higher in both parapneumonic and tuberculous compared to malignant effusions. TNF-α was higher in tuberculous compared to malignant effusions, providing 96.0% sensitivity, and 93.0% specificity for a cut-off point of 88.1 pg/mL. Pleural fluid CRP levels were lower than serum in all groups, probably reflecting systemic inflammation, whereas IL-6 and TNF-α were higher in pleural fluid indicating local production. Our data suggest that these markers may provide useful information for the differentiation of infectious and malignant effusions in clinical practice. However, further studies are needed for the validation of these findings in usual clinical circumstances. © 2006.