Urinary protein biomarkers of kidney injury in patients receiving cisplatin chemotherapy

Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2018 Feb;243(3):272-282. doi: 10.1177/1535370217745302. Epub 2017 Dec 12.


Despite recent progress in the development of novel approaches to treat cancer, traditional antineoplastic drugs, such as cisplatin, remain a mainstay of regimens targeting solid tumors. Use of cisplatin is limited by acute kidney injury, which occurs in approximately 30% of patients. Current clinical measures, such as serum creatinine and estimated glomerular filtration rate, are inadequate in their ability to detect acute kidney injury, particularly when there is only a moderate degree of injury. Thus, there is an urgent need for improved diagnostic biomarkers to predict nephrotoxicity. There is also interest by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to validate and implement new biomarkers to identify clinical and subclinical acute kidney injury in patients during the drug approval process. This minireview provides an overview of the current literature regarding the utility of urinary proteins (albumin, beta-2-microglobulin, N-acetyl-D-glucosaminidase, kidney injury molecule-1, neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin, and cystatin C) as biomarkers for cisplatin-induced AKI. Many of the well-studied urinary proteins (KIM-1, NGAL, B2M, albumin) as well as emerging biomarkers (calbindin, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, and trefoil factor 3) display distinct patterns of time-dependent excretion after cisplatin administration. Implementation of these biomarker proteins in the oncology clinic has been hampered by a lack of validation studies. To address these issues, large head-to-head studies are needed to fully characterize time-dependent responses and establish accurate cutoff values and ranges, particularly in cancer patients. Impact statement There is growing interest in using urinary protein biomarkers to detect acute kidney injury in oncology patients prescribed the nephrotoxic anticancer drug cisplatin. We aim to synthesize and organize the existing literature on biomarkers examined clinically in patients receiving cisplatin-containing chemotherapy regimens. This minireview highlights several proteins (kidney injury molecule-1, beta-2-microglobulin, neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin, calbindin, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, trefoil factor 3) with the greatest promise for detecting cisplatin-induced acute kidney injury in humans. A comprehensive review of the existing literature may aid in the design of larger studies needed to implement the clinical use of these urinary proteins as biomarkers of kidney injury.

Keywords: Urinary biomarkers; acute kidney injury; cisplatin; kidney injury molecule-1; neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury* / chemically induced
  • Acute Kidney Injury* / diagnosis
  • Acute Kidney Injury* / urine
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Cisplatin / adverse effects*
  • Cisplatin / urine
  • Female
  • Hepatitis A Virus Cellular Receptor 1 / analysis
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Lipocalin-2 / urine
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Proteinuria / urine*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • HAVCR1 protein, human
  • Hepatitis A Virus Cellular Receptor 1
  • Lipocalin-2
  • Cisplatin