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Curr Med Chem. 2018 Jun 22. doi: 10.2174/0929867325666180622122938. [Epub ahead of print]

Circulating Biomarkers In Migraine. New Opportunities For Precision Medicine.

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Department of Human Sciences and Quality of Life Promotion, San Raffaele Roma Open University . Italy.
InterInstitutional Multisciplinary Biobank (BioBIM), IRCCS San Raffaele Pisana, 00166, Rome. Italy.
Headache and Pain Unit, Dept. of Neurological, Motor and Sensorial Sciences, IRCCS San Raffaele Pisana, 00166, Rome. Italy.


Background Migraine is the most common neurological disorder and the second most disabling human condition, whose pathogenesis is favored by a combination of genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors. In recent years, several efforts have been made to identify reliable biomarker(s) useful to monitor disease activity and/or ascertain the response to a specific treatment. Objective To review the current evidence on the potential biological markers associated with migraine. Methods A structured search of peer-reviewed research literature was performed by searching major publications databases up to December 2017. Results Several circulating biomarkers have been proposed as diagnostic or therapeutic tools in migraine, mostly related to migraine's inflammatory pathophysiological aspects. Nonetheless, their detection is still a challenge for the scientific community, reflecting, at least in part, disease complexity and clinical diagnostic limitations. At the present time, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) represents probably the most promising candidate as a diagnostic and/or therapeutic biomarker, as its plasma levels are elevated during migraine attack and decrease during successful treatment. Other molecules (including some neuropeptides, cytokines, adipokines, or vascular activation markers) despite promising, do not possess the sufficient prerequisites to be considered as migraine biomarkers. Conclusion The characterization of migraine specific biomarkers would be fundamental in a perspective of precision medicine, enabling risk assessment and tailored treatments. However, speculating on the clinical validity of migraine biomarkers may be premature and controlled clinical trials are presently needed to investigate both the diagnostic and therapeutic value of these biomarkers in migraine.


Migraine; biomarkers; calcitonin gene-related peptide; cytokines; headache; high-sensitive C reactive protein ; inflammation

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