Bilirubin as a Biomarker in Liver Disease

Reference work entry
Part of the Biomarkers in Disease: Methods, Discoveries and Applications book series (BDMDA)


Bilirubin had been studied since the eighteenth century because assessment of serum bilirubin concentration is important in the diagnosis and prognosis of patients with liver disorders. All prognostic scores for liver diseases include bilirubin in their calculations, and some studies have shown that bilirubin is an independent biomarker of mortality risk. We know that a high total bilirubin level is an indicator of disease, but nowadays there is evidence indicating the association of a low level with increased risk of diseases, for example, cancer or cardiovascular disorders. Bilirubin is a potential biomarker because its concentration is associated with mortality and may also be associated with the prevention of disease. This chapter will review the usefulness of bilirubin as a marker in liver diseases and their possible use to assess outcomes and risk of other non-liver diseases.


Chronic liver diseases Acute liver failure Gilbert syndrome Cardiovascular diseases Cancer Autoimmune diseases Prognosis Mortality 

List of Abbreviations




Acute-on-chronic liver failure


Alcoholic hepatitis


Acute liver failure


ALF in-hospital mortality score


Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score


Biliverdin reductase


Conjugated bilirubin


Carbon monoxide

CTP score

Child–Turcotte–Pugh score


Early change in bilirubin level


Glasgow alcoholic hepatitis score


Hydrochloric acid


Hemolysis, elevated liver enzyme levels, and low platelet count


Human immunodeficiency virus


Heme oxygenase


High-performance liquid chromatography


International normalized ratio


King’s College Hospital


Liver transplantation


Maddrey discriminant function


Model for End-Stage Liver Disease


National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey


Organic anion-transporting protein


Transcutaneous bilirubin measurement


Unconjugated bilirubin


Bilirubin UDP-glucuronosyltransferase



This work was supported by the Medica Sur Clinic and Foundation (NMS) and by the following grants: PRVOUK 4102280002 from the Czech Ministry of Education and RVO VFN64165 from the Czech Ministry of Health (LV).


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Liver Research UnitMedica Sur Clinic & FoundationMexico CityMexico
  2. 2.4th Department of Internal Medicine, and Institute of Medical Biochemistry and Laboratory Diagnostics, 1st Faculty of MedicineCharles University in PraguePragueCzech Republic

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