August 20, 2018
1 min read

New test determines risk for pre-term birth with preeclampsia

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Laura Jelliffe-Pawlowski
Laura L. Jelliffe-Pawlowski

A combination of maternal characteristics and serum immune and growth-related markers used from 15 to 20 weeks of gestation identified women at increased risk for preterm birth with preeclampsia, according to findings recently published in the Journal of Perinatology.

“Given the long-term impact of preterm birth on individuals born preterm and given the high risk of preeclampsia to mothers and babies across the world, it was critical to try to develop a potentially low-cost test for preterm birth occurring with and without preeclampsia,” Laura L. Jelliffe-Pawlowski, PhD, an associate adjunct professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, told Healio Family Medicine.

Researchers studied 200 women with preterm birth singleton deliveries and 200 women that carried their baby to term that were randomly assigned in a 2:1 ratio to training and testing subsets. They tested 63 markers in 15 to 20 serum samples and then determined each woman’s risk for preterm birth and preeclampsia.

“This was a convenient random sample wherein total number was determined based on the financial resources available for testing,” researchers wrote.

Jelliffe-Pawlowski and colleagues found that women who had 25 certain serum biomarkers, were aged younger than 34 years and were low-income as determined by their Medicaid eligibility, comprised more than 80% of women with preterm birth and preeclampsia (area under the curve = 0.889; 95% CI, 0.822-0.959 in the training group and area under the curve = 0.883, 95% CI, 0.804-0.96 in the testing group).

“If the test is clinically validated and we find the right partner to move this test to market, it seems highly likely it could be used in primary care settings given its ability to identify women who are at high risk for preterm birth occurring with and without preeclampsia,” Jelliffe said in the interview.

The test would likely be much more affordable than existing tests and serve a greater purpose than the existing tests that only screen for spontaneous preterm birth, according to a press release. – by Janel Miller

Disclosures: Jelliffe-Pawlowski reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.