Chronic kidney disease (CKD) typically evolves over many years, with a long latent period when the disease is clinically silent and therefore diagnosis, evaluation and treatment is based mainly on biomarkers that assess kidney function. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) remains the ideal marker of kidney function. Unfortunately measuring GFR is time consuming and therefore GFR is usually estimated from equations that take into account endogenous filtration markers like serum creatinine (SCr) and cystatin C (CysC). Other biomarkers such as albuminuria may precede kidney function decline and have demonstrated to have strong associations with disease progression and outcomes. New potential biomarkers have arisen with the promise of detecting kidney damage prior to the currently used markers. The aim of this review is to discuss the utility of the GFR estimating equations and biomarkers in CKD and the different clinical settings where these should be applied. The CKD-Epidemiology Collaboration equation performs better than the modification of diet in renal disease equation, especially at GFR above 60 mL/min per 1.73 m(2). Equations combining CysC and SCr perform better than the equations using either CysC or SCr alone and are recommended in situations where CKD needs to be confirmed. Combining creatinine, CysC and urine albumin to creatinine ratio improves risk stratification for kidney disease progression and mortality. Kidney injury molecule and neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin are considered reasonable biomarkers in urine and plasma to determine severity and prognosis of CKD.
Keywords: Chronic kidney disease; Estimated glomerular filtration rate; Kidney damage; MicroRNA; New biomarkers.