The diagnostic value of human epididymis protein 4 as a novel biomarker in patients with renal dysfunction



In this study, we investigated the diagnostic value of human epididymis protein 4 (HE4) in acute and chronic renal dysfunction and analyzed the correlation between HE4 levels and the results of routine renal function tests. We aimed to provide evidence to establish HE4 as a novel biomarker of renal injury and its appropriate application as a marker of ovarian cancer.


We collected 259 serum samples from hospitalized patients with different causes of renal damage. HE4 serum levels were detected by chemiluminescence and the levels of serum creatinine, urea, and cystatin C were tested by conventional clinical chemical methods.


The levels of HE4 were highest in the acute kidney injury groups and chronic kidney disease groups, although other groups were also significantly higher than the control group. HE4 and creatinine, urea, and cystatin C had a positive linear correlation. In contrast, HE4 and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) had a negative linear correlation, with a correlation coefficient of − 0.674 (P < 0.01). Area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve analysis showed that HE4 has higher diagnostic value compared with creatinine, urea, and cystatin C in both acute and chronic renal injury patients; however, HE4 and creatinine have a similar diagnostic value. Notably, HE4 concentration gradually increased with a decline of glomerular filtration rate, with significant differences evident between different eGFR stages.


HE4 is a potential biomarker of kidney injury in acute and chronic renal dysfunction. Importantly, clinicians should be aware of this when using HE4 to diagnose ovarian cancer.

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Correspondence to Lunshan Wang.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Wang, L., Sun, Y., Cai, X. et al. The diagnostic value of human epididymis protein 4 as a novel biomarker in patients with renal dysfunction. Int Urol Nephrol 50, 2043–2048 (2018).

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  • Human epididymis protein 4
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Diagnosis
  • Renal function
  • Biomarker