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Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) and interleukin-18 (IL-18) were considered as the most promising biomarkers in prediction of acute kidney injury (AKI), but the priority of them remains unclear.Databases of PubMed, Elsevier, Cochrane library, and Web of science were searched until August 23rd, 2017 for studies investigated the diagnostic value of urine NGAL (uNGAL) and urine IL-18 (uIL-18) for AKI in adults. Statistical analysis and investigation of heterogeneity source were using RevMan5.3, MetaDiSc1.40, and Stata14.0.A total of 7 studies were included involving 2315 patients from 7 countries in this article, of whom 443 (19.1%) developed AKI. The present meta-analysis demonstrated that uNGAL was more valuable compare with uIL-18 with effect size of 1.09 (95% CI 1.03–1.15, P = .004) in specificity, but not in sensitivity with effect size of 1.12 (95% CI 0.98–1.29, P = .104). Subgroup analysis presented that research design may be a foundation affecting the diagnostic accuracy of uNGAL and uIL-18 for AKI. No substantial publication bias was found.uNGAL is more specific for prediction of AKI in adults as compared with uIL-18.