C-Reactive Protein Is an Important Biomarker for Prognosis Tumor Recurrence and Treatment Response in Adult Solid Tumors: A Systematic Review

PLoS One. 2015 Dec 30;10(12):e0143080. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0143080. eCollection 2015.


Purpose: A systematic literature review was done to determine the relationship between elevated CRP and prognosis in people with solid tumors. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a serum acute phase reactant and a well-established inflammatory marker. We also examined the role of CRP to predict treatment response and tumor recurrence.

Methods: MeSH (Medical Subject Heading) terms were used to search multiple electronic databases (PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, SCOPUS, EBM-Cochrane). Two independent reviewers selected research papers. We also included a quality Assessment (QA) score. Reports with QA scores <50% were excluded. PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis) methodology was utilized for this review (S1 PRISMA Checklist).

Results: 271 articles were identified for final review. There were 45% prospective studies and 52% retrospective. 264 had intermediate QA score (≥50% but <80%); Seven were adequate (80% -100%); A high CRP was predictive of prognosis in 90% (245/271) of studies-80% of the 245 studies by multivariate analysis, 20% by univariate analysis. Many (52%) of the articles were about gastrointestinal malignancies (GI) or kidney malignancies. A high CRP was prognostic in 90% (127 of 141) of the reports in those groups of tumors. CRP was also prognostic in most reports in other solid tumors primary sites.

Conclusions: A high CRP was associated with higher mortality in 90% of reports in people with solid tumors primary sites. This was particularly notable in GI malignancies and kidney malignancies. In other solid tumors (lung, pancreas, hepatocellular cancer, and bladder) an elevated CRP also predicted prognosis. In addition there is also evidence to support the use of CRP to help decide treatment response and identify tumor recurrence. Better designed large scale studies should be conducted to examine these issues more comprehensively.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers, Tumor*
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • C-Reactive Protein

Grants and funding

No external funding was utilized to conduct this systematic review.