, Volume 61, Issue 6, pp 469-481
Date: 24 May 2013

Blood Specimen Biomarkers of Inflammation, Matrix Degradation, Angiogenesis, and Cardiac Involvement: a Future Useful Tool in Assessing Clinical Outcomes of COPD Patients in Clinical Practice?


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by airflow limitation that is not fully reversible; this airflow limitation is both progressive and associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lung to noxious particles or gasses. COPD is undoubtedly an umbrella term, and it seems unlikely that all patients with COPD have the same underlying disease processes; thus, there is a need for differential treatment of different subgroups. A potential solution is to find modifiable biomarkers that can assist in drug development and distinguish subgroups of COPD. With the exception of lung function tests, there are currently no well-validated biomarkers or surrogate endpoints that can be used to establish the efficacy of a drug for COPD. This article discusses biomarkers of inflammation (fibrinogen, C-reactive protein, pulmonary and activation-regulated chemokine/CC-chemokine ligand-18, serum surfactant protein D, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8 and tumor necrosis factor α, complement factor C5a), angiogenesis factors as a part of the pathogenetic aspect in this disease (vascular endothelial growth factor, angiogenin, and IL-8), and matrix degradation biomarkers. Troponin and natriuretic peptides are presented as biomarkers of cardiac involvement in the light of COPD comorbidities. Trials based on research on known clinical variables such as FEV1, BODE, and 6MWT in combination with biomarkers from lung and blood specimens will probably clarify part of the prognosis and natural history of the disease. This will also represent an additional step in COPD phenotyping and new treatment possibilities.