Evidence from systematic reviews of randomized trials on enteral lactoferrin supplementation in preterm neonates

Biochem Cell Biol. 2021 Feb;99(1):20-24. doi: 10.1139/bcb-2020-0136. Epub 2020 Jul 28.


In this commentary, we summarize the current evidence from randomized controlled trials on enteral lactoferrin supplementation in preterm neonates. Our recently completed systematic review includes 12 randomized controlled trials performed all over the world. Our meta-analysis suggests clinical benefit in decreasing late-onset sepsis, late-onset fungal sepsis, length of stay in the hospital and urinary tract infections. There were no adverse effects. There was no statistically significant decrease in necrotizing enterocolitis, mortality or neurodevelopmental impairment in lactoferrin supplemented preterm infants. There was significant statistical heterogeneity in the effects of lactoferrin on late-onset sepsis between larger and smaller studies, which may reflect either small study biases, differences in the effectiveness, dose or duration of supplemental lactoferrin products, or differences in underlying population risk, or any or all of these.

Keywords: lactoferrin; lactoferrine; neonate; nouveau-né; preterm; prématuré; revue systématique; sepsis; septicémie; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements
  • Enteral Nutrition*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Lactoferrin / administration & dosage*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sepsis / prevention & control*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / prevention & control*


  • Lactoferrin