Conversion of Urine Protein-Creatinine Ratio or Urine Dipstick Protein to Urine Albumin-Creatinine Ratio for Use in Chronic Kidney Disease Screening and Prognosis : An Individual Participant-Based Meta-analysis

Ann Intern Med. 2020 Sep 15;173(6):426-435. doi: 10.7326/M20-0529. Epub 2020 Jul 14.


Background: Although measuring albuminuria is the preferred method for defining and staging chronic kidney disease (CKD), total urine protein or dipstick protein is often measured instead.

Objective: To develop equations for converting urine protein-creatinine ratio (PCR) and dipstick protein to urine albumin-creatinine ratio (ACR) and to test their diagnostic accuracy in CKD screening and staging.

Design: Individual participant-based meta-analysis.

Setting: 12 research and 21 clinical cohorts.

Participants: 919 383 adults with same-day measures of ACR and PCR or dipstick protein.

Measurements: Equations to convert urine PCR and dipstick protein to ACR were developed and tested for purposes of CKD screening (ACR ≥30 mg/g) and staging (stage A2: ACR of 30 to 299 mg/g; stage A3: ACR ≥300 mg/g).

Results: Median ACR was 14 mg/g (25th to 75th percentile of cohorts, 5 to 25 mg/g). The association between PCR and ACR was inconsistent for PCR values less than 50 mg/g. For higher PCR values, the PCR conversion equations demonstrated moderate sensitivity (91%, 75%, and 87%) and specificity (87%, 89%, and 98%) for screening (ACR >30 mg/g) and classification into stages A2 and A3, respectively. Urine dipstick categories of trace or greater, trace to +, and ++ for screening for ACR values greater than 30 mg/g and classification into stages A2 and A3, respectively, had moderate sensitivity (62%, 36%, and 78%) and high specificity (88%, 88%, and 98%). For individual risk prediction, the estimated 2-year 4-variable kidney failure risk equation using predicted ACR from PCR had discrimination similar to that of using observed ACR.

Limitation: Diverse methods of ACR and PCR quantification were used; measurements were not always performed in the same urine sample.

Conclusion: Urine ACR is the preferred measure of albuminuria; however, if ACR is not available, predicted ACR from PCR or urine dipstick protein may help in CKD screening, staging, and prognosis.

Primary funding source: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and National Kidney Foundation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Albuminuria / diagnosis*
  • Albuminuria / urine
  • Creatinine / urine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Proteinuria / diagnosis*
  • Proteinuria / urine
  • Reagent Strips*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / urine
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Urinalysis / instrumentation
  • Urinalysis / methods*


  • Reagent Strips
  • Creatinine