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Nutrition. 2013 Mar;29(3):580-2. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2012.08.007. Epub 2013 Jan 5.

Serum prealbumin: an independent marker of short-term energy intake in the presence of multiple-organ disease involvement.

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  • 1Nutrition and Dietetics Service, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy.



Serum prealbumin has a prognostic value in several diseases, but its serum levels can be influenced by different factors. However, a multivariable analysis to test the independent effect of each has not yet, to our knowledge, been performed. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the association between prealbumin and several factors possibly affecting its serum levels to test the potential of using prealbumin as an indicator of nutritional status and short-term energy intake in patients newly diagnosed with immunoglobulin light-chain amyloidosis.


Multivariable general linear regression models of non-collinear variables were fitted to assess the association of demographic (sex, age), nutritional (short-term energy intake, unintentional weight loss, body mass index), and clinical (cardiac and liver involvement, kidney function, C-reactive protein) parameters with serum prealbumin levels in 187 patients newly diagnosed with immunoglobulin light-chain amyloidosis.


Serum prealbumin levels were associated with C-reactive protein and short-term energy intake (P < 0.001 for both). A significant association was also detected with age (P = 0.023), serum creatinine (P = 0.017), liver involvement (P = 0.002), and peripheral edema (P = 0.032). In a prespecified subgroup analysis (n = 140) in patients with normal C-reactive protein level (<0.5 mg/dL), all other associations were confirmed. A significant relation was also observed with sex (P = 0.022) and body mass index (P = 0.041).


Serum prealbumin is associated with short-term energy intake independently of the presence of multiple-organ involvement and inflammation. Its serum levels should be always interpreted in light of its influencing factors, among which inflammation and liver and kidney functions appear predominant.

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