The association of urinary nerve growth factor levels with bladder outlet obstruction in women

Female Pelvic Med Reconstr Surg. 2015 Mar-Apr;21(2):111-5. doi: 10.1097/SPV.0000000000000126.


Objectives: Nerve growth factor (NGF) has been proposed as a urinary biomarker and previously shown to be elevated in male patients with bladder outlet obstruction (BOO) and other lower urinary tract symptoms. No published studies have examined NGF as a potential urinary biomarker in women with BOO. The aims of this prospective study were to evaluate NGF levels in urine from women with anatomic BOO resulting from pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and/or previous incontinence surgery and to measure the effect associated with surgical or conservative management.

Methods: From January to September 2012, all female patients referred for evaluation and management of BOO from POP or previous incontinence surgery were screened for enrollment. Inclusion criteria included elevated postvoid residual, valsalva voiding on urodynamics, or urinary peak flow (Qmax) of 12 mL/s or less. A control group of 10 asymptomatic age-matched female volunteers was also recruited. In all subjects, urinary NGF and creatinine (Cr) levels were measured and normalized to the urinary Cr concentrations (NGF/Cr). Urinary NGF levels were measured at 1 month and 3 months after either surgical correction or initiation of clean intermittent catheterization.

Results: A total of 10 female patients with anatomic BOO (mean [SD] age of 66.2 [3.88] years) and 10 female control subjects (mean [SD] age of 62 [7] years) were recruited. Nine patients had POP. Six patients had undergone a previous anti-incontinence procedure. Five patients had both POP and undergone a previous anti-incontinence procedure. The urinary NGF/Cr levels in the study patients with BOO (mean [SE] 20.8 [4.31] pg/mg) were significantly higher (P = 0.0001) than the levels in the age-matched control group (5.6 [0.65] pg/mg). After treatment, the urinary NGF/Cr level significantly decreased to 6.50 (0.57) pg/mg (P = 0.01) CONCLUSIONS: In this study, female patients with anatomic BOO resulting from POP and/or previous incontinence surgery had significantly higher urinary NGF/Cr levels when compared with age-matched controls. After treatment, the urinary NGF/Cr levels significantly decreased.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / urine*
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Growth Factor / urine*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Urinary Bladder Neck Obstruction / urine*


  • Biomarkers
  • Nerve Growth Factor
  • Creatinine