Prediction of spontaneous preterm delivery in women with threatened preterm labour: a prospective cohort study of multiple proteins in maternal serum

BJOG. 2012 Jun;119(7):866-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2012.03328.x. Epub 2012 Apr 24.


Objective: To analyse whether specific proteins in maternal serum and cervical length, alone or in combination, can predict the likelihood that women with intact membranes with threatened preterm labour will deliver spontaneously within 7 days of sampling.

Design: Cohort study.

Setting: Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Population: Women at between 22 and 33 weeks of gestation with threatened preterm labour (n = 142) admitted to the Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1995-2005.

Methods: Maternal serum was tested for 27 proteins using multiplex xMAP technology. Individual levels of each protein were compared, and calculations were performed to investigate potential associations between different proteins, cervical length and spontaneous preterm delivery. Receiver operating characteristic curves were used to find the best cut-off values for continuous variables in relation to spontaneous preterm delivery within 7 days of sampling. Prediction models were created based on a stepwise logistic regression using binary variables.

Main outcome measure: Spontaneous preterm delivery within 7 days.

Results: In order to determine the best prediction model, we analysed models of serum proteins alone, cervical length alone, and the combination of serum proteins and cervical length. We found one multivariable combined model through the data analysis that more accurately predicted spontaneous preterm delivery within 7 days. This model was based on serum interleukin-10 (IL-10) levels, serum RANTES levels and cervical length (sensitivity 74%, specificity 87%, positive predictive value 76%, negative predictive value 86%, likelihood ratio 5.8 and area under the curve 0.88).

Conclusions: A combination of maternal serum proteins and cervical length constituted the best prediction model, and would help determine whether women with threatened preterm labour are likely to deliver within 7 days of measurement.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cervical Length Measurement*
  • Chemokine CCL5 / blood
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / blood
  • Logistic Models
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / blood
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth / blood
  • Premature Birth / diagnosis*
  • Prospective Studies
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Proteins
  • Chemokine CCL5
  • Interleukin-10