ON BEHALF OF NICSO: Use of procalcitonin in clinical oncology: a literature review

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New Microbiol. 2016 Jun 10;39(3).

Use of procalcitonin in clinical oncology: a literature review

Sbrana A, Torchio M, Comolli G, Antonuzzo A, Danova M on behalf of Italian Network of Supportive Care in Oncology (NICSO).


The use of procalcitonin (PCT) as an early marker of infectious episodes in cancer patients is still controversial. We performed a MEDLINE search of peer-reviewed articles published between January 1990 and December 2015, and finally we analysed 15 articles. PCT seems to have a good diagnostic value of infectious episodes in cancer patients and its accuracy seems greater if we consider major events, such as bloodstream infections and sepsis. Serial evaluations of this protein seem to be more accurate in the diagnostic phase and useful to predict outcome and response to antibacterial treatment. On the other hand, some issues have yet to be solved, such as the use of a validated method of determination, the definition of a standard cut-off, and the heterogeneity among different settings of patients (e.g. early versus advanced-stage cancer, or haematological versus solid tumours). However, it is credible to think that PCT use in everyday clinical practice, preferably in combination with other clinical or laboratory tests, might be of help in finding and detecting early infectious complications in cancer patients.

Link to PubMed (free article): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27284982