Background: Early prognostic stratification of patients with sepsis is a difficult clinical challenge. Aim of this study was to evaluate novel molecules in association with clinical parameters as predictors of 90-days mortality in patients admitted with sepsis at Humanitas Research Hospital. Methods: Plasma samples were collected from 178 patients, diagnosed based on Sepsis-3 criteria, at admission to the Emergency Department and after 5 days of hospitalization. Levels of pentraxin 3 (PTX3), soluble IL-1 type 2 receptor (sIL-1R2), and of a panel of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines were measured by ELISA. Cox proportional-hazard models were used to evaluate predictors of 90-days mortality. Results: Circulating levels of PTX3, sIL-1R2, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-18, IL-1ra, TNF-α increased significantly in sepsis patients on admission, with the highest levels measured in shock patients, and correlated with SOFA score (PTX3: r=0.44, p<0.0001; sIL-1R2: r=0.35, p<0.0001), as well as with 90-days mortality. After 5 days of hospitalization, PTX3 and cytokines, but not sIL-1R2 levels, decreased significantly, in parallel with a general improvement of clinical parameters. The combination of age, blood urea nitrogen, PTX3, IL-6 and IL-18, defined a prognostic index predicting 90-days mortality in Sepsis-3 patients and showing better apparent discrimination capacity than the SOFA score (AUC=0.863, 95% CI: 0.780-0.945 vs. AUC=0.727, 95% CI: 0.613-0.840; p=0.021 respectively). Conclusion: These data suggest that a prognostic index based on selected cytokines, PTX3 and clinical parameters, and hence easily adoptable in clinical practice, performs in predicting 90-days mortality better than SOFA. An independent validation is required.
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