Serum retinol-binding protein: a novel biomarker for recalcitrant cutaneous warts

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BackgroundCutaneous viral warts are benign epidermal proliferations caused by human papillomaviruses (HPVs). Despite treatment, a significant proportion of warts fail to resolve, becoming recalcitrant. Vitamin A (retinol) may disrupt the interplay of HPV replication and epithelial cell differentiation, allowing normal tissue to replace warts. Circulating retinol-binding protein (RBP) concentrations highly correlate with retinol levels.AimWe aimed at evaluation of serum RBP level in patients with recalcitrant cutaneous warts in order to assess its correlation with disease pathogenesis.MethodsSerum RBP level was measured by an ELISA technique in 50 patients with recalcitrant cutaneous warts and 30 apparently healthy controls.ResultsSerum RBP level was significantly lower in patients with recalcitrant warts than the control group (P < 0.001). However, it did not differ regarding different clinical parameters in studied patients (P > 0.05 each). RBP is a reliable biomarker for significant early detection and discrimination between patients and healthy controls (P < 0.001) at a cutoff value ≤1034.6 μg/ml, with sensitivity and specificity (100% each).ConclusionOur results revealed that low serum RBP as a relatively cheap biomarker with high specificity and sensitivity is a reliable indicator of vitamin A (retinol) deficiency that may play a role in the pathogenesis of recalcitrant cutaneous warts among our studied patients.

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