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Clin Respir J. 2017 May;11(3):337-345. doi: 10.1111/crj.12341. Epub 2015 Jul 7.

Serum Krebs von den Lungen-6 level as a diagnostic biomarker for interstitial lung disease in Chinese patients.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine, Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital, The Affiliated Hospital of Tongji University, School of Medicine, Shanghai, China.
Department of Respiratory Medicine, Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital, The Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School, Nanjing, China.
Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, The Affiliated Hospital of Beijing Chao-Yang Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.



The purpose of this study was to determine the diagnostic and prognostic values of serum KL-6 levels in Chinese patients with interstitial lung disease (ILDs).


A total of 1084 subjects including 373 cases of ILDs, 584 cases of non-ILD pulmonary diseases, and 127 healthy individuals were recruited from three clinical centers in China between January 2011 and December 2013. A total of 106 patients undergoing treatments for ILDs in Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital between January 2011 and December 2013 were enrolled. Baseline and posttreatment serum KL-6 levels were determined.


Serum KL-6 levels in patients with ILDs were significantly higher than those in patients with non-ILD pulmonary diseases or in healthy individuals (1492.09 ± 2230.08 U/mL vs 258.67 ± 268.73 U/mL or 178.73 ± 71.17 U/mL, all P < 0.05). At the cut-off value of 500 U/mL, the sensitivity and specificity of serum KL-6 as a diagnostic marker for ILDs was 77.75% and 94.51%, respectively. The Kappa value was 0.743 (P < 0.001). The area below the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.922 with a 95% Confidence interval of 0.904-0.941 (P < 0.001). The posttreatment serum KL-6 levels significantly reduced in patients with improved ILDs, whereas markedly increased in patients with exacerbated ILDs (All P < 0.05).


Serum KL-6 levels might be a promising diagnostic biomarker for ILDs in Chinese patients. The prognostic value of serum KL-6 levels for ILDs remains to be verified by large-scaled studies.


KL-6; biomarker; diagnosis; interstitial lung disease; prognosis

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