A 2020 review on the role of procalcitonin in different clinical settings: an update conducted with the tools of the Evidence Based Laboratory Medicine
Azzini AM, Dorizzi RM, Sette P, Vecchi M, Coledan I, Righi E, Tacconelli E.
Ann Transl Med. 2020 May;8(9):610. doi: 10.21037/atm-20-1855, 05/2020.
Biomarkers to guide antibiotic treatment decisions have been proposed as an effective way to enhancing a more appropriate use of antibiotics. As a biomarker, procalcitonin (PCT) has been found to have good specificity to distinguish bacterial from non-bacterial inflammations. Decisions regarding antibiotic use in an individual patient are complex and should be based on the pre-test probability for bacterial infection, the severity of presentation and the results of PCT serum concentration. In the context of a high pre-test probability for bacterial infections and/or a high-risk patient with sepsis, monitoring of PCT over time helps to track the resolution of infection and decisions regarding early stop of antibiotic treatment. As outlined by the Evidence Based Laboratory Medicine (EBLM), not only the pre-test probability but also the positive likelihood ratio influence the performance of a test do be really diagnostic. This aspect should be taken into account in the interpretation of the results of clinical trials evaluating the performance of PCT in guiding antibiotic therapy.