Impact of serum SP-A and SP-D levels on comparison and prognosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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Background and objective:

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) has a poor prognosis in general; however, it is heterogeneous to detect relative biomarkers for predicting the disease progression. Serum biomarkers can be conveniently collected to detect and help to differentially diagnose IPF and predict IPF prognosis. This meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the use of serum surfactant proteins A and D (SP-A and SP-D) for differential diagnosis and prognosis of IPF.


Relevant articles were searched in PubMed, Embase, and Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure databases and reviewed by 2 independent readers. Standard mean difference (SMD) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated to assess the difference in serum levels of SP-A/D among patients with IPF, when compared to patients with non-IPF interstitial lung disease (ILD), pulmonary infection, and healthy control. Hazard ratio (HR) and 95% CI were used to compare the relative risk of mortality.


Twenty-one articles (totalling 1289 IPF patients) were included in final meta-analysis. Serum SP-A levels were significantly higher in patients with IPF than in patients with non-IPF ILD (SMD: 1.108 [0.584, 1.632], P < .001), or pulmonary infection (SMD: 1.320 [0.999, 1.640], P < .001) and healthy controls (SMD: 2.802 [1.901, 3.702], P < .001). There was no significant difference in serum SP-D levels between patients with IPF and those with non-IPF ILD patients (SMD: 0.459 [−0.000, 0.919], P = .050). Serum SP-D levels were significantly higher in patients with IPF than in patients with pulmonary infection (SMD: 1.308 [0.813, 1.803], P < .001) and healthy controls (SMD: 2.235 [1.739, 2.731], P < .001). Risk of death in patients with IPF and elevated serum SP-A was increased 39% compared to patients with low SP-A groups. Elevated SP-D increased risk by 111% when compared to low SP-D. In acute exacerbation of IPF, serum SP-A/D were higher than those in stable stage. The comparisons and prognosis might be different in Asian and Caucasian patients.


Serum SP-A/D detection might be useful for differential diagnosis and prediction of survival in patients with IPF.

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