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Expert Opin Med Diagn. 2012 Mar;6(2):153-65. doi: 10.1517/17530059.2012.664130. Epub 2012 Feb 23.

Serum biomarkers for ectopic pregnancy diagnosis.

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Nepean Hospital, Acute Gynaecology, Early Pregnancy and Advanced Endosurgery Unit , Penrith, NSW 2747 , Australia +61 2 4734 2312 ;



Ectopic pregnancy (EP) remains the leading cause of maternal mortality in the first trimester of pregnancy. In an attempt to expedite the accurate diagnosis of women with EP, research has focused on serum biomarkers that can distinguish EP from other types of pregnancies in women with a pregnancy of unknown location (PUL).


This review was based on recently published research, as cited on the PubMed database, regarding the major serum biomarkers, which have been evaluated to distinguish EP from failed PULs or normal intrauterine pregnancies (IUPs).


At present, there is no single biochemical marker or combination of biomarkers that consistently predicts EP with both high sensitivity and specificity. Current diagnostic strategies in women with a PUL result in costly multiple visits. This approach both burdens the health-care system fiscally and impacts on the psychological morbidity of the individual. What is needed is a cost-effective diagnostic serum biomarker/s test to accurately predict EP in the PUL population. This strategy could significantly reduce follow-up visits, without compromising maternal mortality.

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