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Evaluation of ADAM-12 as a Diagnostic Biomarker of Ectopic Pregnancy in Women with a Pregnancy of Unknown Location
Published: Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Author: Andrew W. Horne et al.

by Andrew W. Horne, Jeremy K. Brown, Stephen Tong, Tu'uhevaha Kaitu'u-Lino

Background

Ectopic pregnancy (EP) remains the most life-threatening acute condition in modern gynaecology. It remains difficult to diagnose early and accurately. Women often present at emergency departments in early pregnancy with a ‘pregnancy of unknown location’ (PUL) and diagnosis/exclusion of EP is challenging due to a lack of reliable biomarkers. Recent studies suggest that serum levels of a disintegrin and metalloprotease protein-12 (ADAM-12) can be used differentiate EP from viable intrauterine pregnancy (VIUP). Here we describe a prospective study evaluating the performance of ADAM-12 in differentiating EP from the full spectrum of alternative PUL outcomes in an independent patient cohort.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Sera were collected from 120 patients at their first clinical presentation with a PUL and assayed for ADAM-12 by ELISA. Patients were categorized according to final pregnancy outcomes. Serum ADAM-12 concentrations were increased in women with histologically-confirmed EP (median 442 pg/mL; 25%–75% percentile 232–783 pg/mL) compared to women with VIUP (256 pg/mL; 168–442 pg/mL) or miscarriage (192 pg/mL; 133–476 pg/mL). Serum ADAM-12 did not differentiate histologically-confirmed EP from spontaneously resolving PUL (srPUL) (416 pg/mL; 154–608 pg/mL). The diagnostic potential of ADAM-12 was only significant when ‘ambiguous’ PUL outcomes were excluded from the analysis (AROC?=?0.6633; P?=?0.03901).

Conclusions/Significance

When measured in isolation, ADAM-12 levels had limited value as a diagnostic biomarker for EP in our patient cohort. The development of a reliable serum biomarker-based test for EP remains an ongoing challenge.

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