What are biomarkers?

Curr Opin HIV AIDS. 2010 Nov;5(6):463-6. doi: 10.1097/COH.0b013e32833ed177.


Purpose of review: This article provides working definitions and a conceptual framework to understand the roles of biomarkers in clinical research.

Recent findings: The definitions of the terms discussed in this article--medical signs, symptoms, biomarkers, surrogate endpoints, clinical endpoints, validation--are still under discussion, as are their relationships to each other, but broad consensus has developed in the past decade and a half about the necessity of distinguishing between, in particular, surrogate and clinical endpoints.

Summary: This article outlines the major definitions of the key terms in this field and considers select cases in which misunderstandings about the terms led to flawed research conclusions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers*
  • Biomedical Research
  • Diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Biomarkers