Procalcitonin, soluble interleukin-2 receptor, and soluble E-selectin in predicting the severity of acute pancreatitis

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To investigate whether marker(s) of systemic inflammation detect, at an early stage of acute pancreatitis, patients who may ultimately develop severe disease.


Prospective study.


University hospital emergency unit.


Thirty patients with mild acute pancreatitis (SEV0 group) and 27 with severe acute pancreatitis. Of the latter, 11 did not develop organ failure (SEV1 group), whereas the other 16 patients developed acute respiratory failure and 9 of them also developed renal failure (SEV2 group).


Blood samples were collected at admission to the hospital (T0), and at 12 hrs (T12) and 24 hrs (T24) after admission.

Measurements and Main Results

The plasma concentrations of procalcitonin (PCT), soluble E-selectin (sE-selectin), soluble interleukin-2 receptor (sIL-2R), and the serum concentration of C-reactive protein (CRP) were monitored. PCT levels at T0 were significantly higher in the SEV1 group (median 0.4 ng/mL, range 0.2–2.3) and the SEV2 group (0.8 ng/mL, 0.2–73.5) than in the SEV0 group (0.3 ng/mL, 0.1–3, p < .05 and p < .001, respectively). At T12, PCT level in the SEV2 group was significantly higher than that in the SEV1 group (2.2 ng/mL, 0.2–86.6 vs. 0.4 ng/mL, 0.3–2.8, p = .05), as it also was at T24 (2.2 ng/mL, 0.4–73.3 vs. 0.5 ng/mL, 0.3–4, p < .01). Among SEV2 patients, PCT concentration correlated negatively with the time elapsed between admission and the diagnosis of organ failure. At T12, sIL-2R levels of the SEV1 group (1011 U/mL, range 334–2211) and the SEV2 group (1495 U/ml, range 514–4526) both differed significantly from the SEV0 group (636 U/ml, range 356–1678, p < .05 and p < .001, respectively) as they also did at T24. Although CRP level in the SEV1 group at T12 did not differ from the SEV0 group, the difference between SEV2 (272 μg/mL, range 46–462) and SEV0 was significant (53 μg/mL, range 5–243, p < 0.01). sE-selectin levels did not differ between groups.


At admission to hospital, concentrations of PCT, but not those of CRP, sE-selectin, or sIL-2R, are higher in patients with severe acute pancreatitis than in patients with mild pancreatitis. PCT test had sensitivity of 94% and specificity of 73% for development of organ failure. PCT may be useful to identify the patients who benefit from novel therapies aimed at modifying the course of systemic inflammation.

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