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Clin Chem. 2016 Jul;62(7):1020-31. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2016.255828. Epub 2016 May 12.

Comparison of the Predictive Value of GlycA and Other Biomarkers of Inflammation for Total Death, Incident Cardiovascular Events, Noncardiovascular and Noncancer Inflammatory-Related Events, and Total Cancer Events.

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Cardiovascular Division, School of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN;
LabCorp, Raleigh, NC;
Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Nephrology, School of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN;
University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, PA;
Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, and Biochemistry, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Colchester, VT;
Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.



GlycA is a biomarker that reflects integrated concentrations and glycosylation states of several acute-phase proteins. We studied the association of GlycA and inflammatory biomarkers with future death and disease.


A total of 6523 men and women in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis who were free of overt cardiovascular disease (CVD) and in generally good health had a baseline blood sample taken. We assayed high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and d-dimer. A spectral deconvolution algorithm was used to quantify GlycA signal amplitudes from automated nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) LipoProfileĀ® test spectra. Median follow-up was 12.1 years. Among 4 primary outcomes, CVD events were adjudicated, death was by death certificate, and chronic inflammatory-related severe hospitalization and death (ChrIRD) and total cancer were classified using International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes. We used Poisson regression to study baseline GlycA, hsCRP, IL-6, and d-dimer in relation to total death, CVD, ChrIRD, and total cancer.


Relative risk per SD of GlycA, IL-6, and d-dimer for total death (n = 915); for total CVD (n = 922); and for ChrIRD (n = 1324) ranged from 1.05 to 1.20, independently of covariates. In contrast, prediction from hsCRP was statistically explained by adjustment for other inflammatory variables. Only GlycA was predictive for total cancer (n = 663). Women had 7% higher values of all inflammatory biomarkers than men and had a significantly lower GlycA prediction coefficient than men in predicting total cancer.


The composite biomarker GlycA derived from NMR is associated with risk for total death, CVD, ChrIRD, and total cancer after adjustment for hsCRP, IL-6, and d-dimer. IL-6 and d-dimer contribute information independently of GlycA.

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