MMP-7 is a predictive biomarker of disease progression in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

ERJ Open Res. 2017 Mar 22;3(1):00074-2016. doi: 10.1183/23120541.00074-2016. eCollection 2017 Jan.


Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive interstitial lung disease with poor prognosis, which is characterised by destruction of normal lung architecture and excessive deposition of lung extracellular matrix. The heterogeneity of disease progression in patients with IPF poses significant obstacles to patient care and prevents efficient development of novel therapeutic interventions. Blood biomarkers, reflecting pathobiological processes in the lung, could provide objective evidence of the underlying disease. Longitudinally collected serum samples from the Bosentan Use in Interstitial Lung Disease (BUILD)-3 trial were used to measure four biomarkers (metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7), Fas death receptor ligand, osteopontin and procollagen type I C-peptide), to assess their potential prognostic capabilities and to follow changes during disease progression in patients with IPF. In baseline BUILD-3 samples, only MMP-7 showed clearly elevated protein levels compared with samples from healthy controls, and further investigations demonstrated that MMP-7 levels also increased over time. Baseline levels of MMP-7 were able to predict patients who had higher risk of worsening and, notably, baseline levels of MMP-7 could predict changes in FVC as early as month 4. MMP-7 shows potential to be a reliable predictor of lung function decline and disease progression.