Diagnostic Value of Intestinal Fatty-Acid-Binding Protein in Necrotizing Enterocolitis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
BACKGROUND In recent years several potential biochemical markers have been evaluated to facilitate a reliable diagnosis of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), but none have made progress to clinical routine. We performed a comparative assessment in premature infants to evaluate the diagnostic value of the routinely available cytokine interleukin (IL)-8, and two promising experimental biomarkers, the gut barrier proteins liver fatty acid binding protein (L-FABP) and intestinal fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP), respectively, for the diagnosis of NEC. METHODS IL-8, L-FABP, and I-FABP concentrations were analyzed in the serum of 15 infants with NEC and compared with 14 gestational age-matched infants serving as a control group. RESULTS Serum concentrations of I-FABP, L-FABP and IL-8 were significantly higher in infants with NEC compared with controls. IL-8 showed the highest diagnostic value with an area under the curve of 0.99, followed by L-FABP and I-FABP. In addition we found a significant correlation between IL-8 and both FABPs in infants with NEC. CONCLUSION Our results further advocate the possible role of IL-8 as a specific marker for NEC. The diagnostic value of IL-8 seems to be superior to I-FABP, and similar to L-FABP. The routinely availability facilitates IL-8 as a possible candidate for further clinical investigations.