Combining Prognostic and Predictive Enrichment Strategies to Identify Children With Septic Shock Responsive to Corticosteroids*

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Prognostic and predictive enrichment strategies are fundamental tools of precision medicine. Identifying children with septic shock who may benefit from corticosteroids remains a challenge. We combined prognostic and predictive strategies to identify a pediatric septic shock subgroup responsive to corticosteroids.


We conducted a secondary analysis of 288 previously published pediatric subjects with septic shock. For prognostic enrichment, each study subject was assigned a baseline mortality probability using the pediatric sepsis biomarker risk model. For predictive enrichment, each study subject was allocated to one of two septic shock endotypes, based on a 100-gene signature reflecting adaptive immunity and glucocorticoid receptor signaling. The primary study endpoint was complicated course, defined as the persistence of two or more organ failures at day 7 of septic shock or 28-day mortality. We used logistic regression to test for an association between corticosteroids and complicated course within endotype.

Measurements and Main Results:

Among endotype B subjects at intermediate to high pediatric sepsis biomarker risk model-based risk of mortality, corticosteroids were independently associated with more than a 10-fold reduction in the risk of a complicated course (relative risk, 0.09; 95% CI, 0.01–0.54; p = 0.007).


A combination of prognostic and predictive strategies based on serum protein and messenger RNA biomarkers can identify a subgroup of children with septic shock who may be more likely to benefit from corticosteroids. Prospective validation of these strategies and the existence of this subgroup are warranted.

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