Evaluation of C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and procalcitonin levels in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell recipients

Markus Pihusch, Rudolf Pihusch, Peter Fraunberger, Verena Pihusch, Reinhard Andreesen, Hans Jochem Kolb, Ernst Holler

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65 Scopus citations


Background: Prompt detection of transplant-related complications (TRC) as infections, acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD), microangiopathic hemolytic anemia, or veno-occlusive disease following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is essential. Patients and methods: We conducted a prospective trial on clinical significance of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and procalcitonin (PCT) serum levels in TRC. A total of 350 stem cell recipients were admitted. CRP, IL-6 and PCT were analyzed prior to conditioning and weekly until 8 wk after HSCT. TRC were recorded weekly throughout the study. Results: CRP (4.4 mg/dL vs. 12.8 mg/dL; P < 0.001), IL-6 (93 ng/mL vs. 1.138 ng/mL; P < 0.001) and PCT (0.8 ng/dL vs. 5.7 ng/dL; P < 0.001) were increased in infectious complications. Only PCT differentiated between infection and other TRC. Exclusive aGVHD did not increase CRP (4.4 mg/dL vs. 5.7 mg/dL; n.s.), IL-6 (93 ng/mL vs. 153 ng/mL; n.s.) and PCT (0.8 ng/dL vs. 0.8 ng/dL; n.s.). CRP (6.1 mg/dL vs. 3.1 mg/dL; P < 0.001) and IL-6 (295 ng/mL vs. 122 ng/mL; P = 0.001) were decreased during steroid therapy, but not PCT (2.3 ng/dL vs. 2.0 ng/dL; n.s.). Conclusion: Our study confirmed CRP, IL-6 and PCT serum levels as helpful markers for TRC. PCT can differentiate infection from GVHD despite steroid therapy. Further trials are needed focusing on the identification of patients who benefit from early risk stratification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-101
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Haematology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • C-reactive protein
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • Interleukin-6
  • Procalcitonin


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