Background: The accuracy of measuring serum cystatin C levels for detecting various stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in diabetes is still unclear.
Methods: In a cross-sectional study of 251 subjects, a reference glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was measured using (99c)Tc-DTPA plasma clearance (iGFR). Multivariate analysis was used to identify independent clinical and biochemical associations with serum cystatin C and iGFR levels. The diagnostic accuracy of cystatin C and commonly used creatinine-based methods of measuring renal function (serum creatinine, the MDRD four-variable and Cockcroft-Gault formulae) for detecting mild and moderate CKD was also compared.
Results: In the entire study population the same five variables, age, urinary albumin excretion rates, haemoglobin, history of macrovascular disease and triglyceride levels were independently associated with both cystatin C and iGFR levels. A serum cystatin C level cut-off > 82.1 nmol/l (1.10 mg/l) had the best test characteristics as a screening tool for detecting moderate CKD (< 60 ml/min per 1.73 m(2)) when compared with creatinine-based methods. At the upper threshold for mild CKD (< 90 ml/min per 1.73 m(2)), cystatin C also had greater diagnostic accuracy than creatinine, but had similar diagnostic accuracy when compared with creatinine-based formulae for predicting renal function.
Conclusions: This study suggests that the clinical and biochemical parameters associated with serum cystatin C levels are closely linked to those associated with GFR and highlights the potential usefulness of screening for moderate or mild CKD in subjects with diabetes by simply measuring serum cystatin C levels.