Serum Albumin Concentrations in Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

J Clin Med. 2021 Jan 13;10(2):269. doi: 10.3390/jcm10020269.


Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive condition characterized by chronic airway inflammation and lung parenchyma damage. Systemic inflammation and oxidative stress also play a role in the pathogenesis of COPD. Serum albumin is a negative acute-phase protein with antioxidant effects and an important marker of malnutrition. The aim of this meta-analysis was to investigate differences in serum albumin concentrations between patients with stable COPD and non-COPD subjects.

Methods: A systematic search was conducted, using the terms "albumin" and "chronic obstructive pulmonary disease" or "COPD", in the electronic databases PubMed and Web of Science, from inception to May 2020.

Results: Twenty-six studies were identified on a total of 2554 COPD patients and 2055 non-COPD controls. Pooled results showed that serum albumin concentrations were significantly lower in COPD patients (standard mean difference, SMD = -0.50, 95% CI -0.67 to -0.32; p < 0.001). No significant differences were observed in SMD of serum albumin concentrations between COPD patients with forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) < 50% and those with FEV1 > 50%.

Conclusions: Our systematic review and meta-analysis showed that serum albumin concentrations are significantly lower in patients with stable COPD compared to non-COPD controls. This supports the presence of a deficit in systemic anti-inflammatory and antioxidant defense mechanisms in COPD.

Keywords: COPD; albumin; inflammation; malnutrition; oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Review