The clinical value of lactate dehydrogenase in serum: a quantitative review

Eur J Clin Chem Clin Biochem. 1997 Aug;35(8):569-79.


The aim of this article is to describe guidelines for rational use of lactate dehydrogenase and its isoenzymes, in the diagnostic processes and during follow-up, based on a systematic review of relevant literature. Sources of data for this study were English-language scientific publications, obtained from the database of the National Library of Medicine (Medline), concerning the clinical application (diagnosis, monitoring or treatment of disease) of lactate dehydrogenase and lactate dehydrogenase isoenzyme measurements in serum in the following main clinical fields: cardiology, hepatology, haematology and oncology. For acceptance in the present review, studies had to include: a proper definition of the tested patient population, diagnostic criteria, sampling time, sampling frequency, and test characteristics. Estimation of the relation between lactate dehydrogenase or lactate dehydrogenase isoenzymes and specific diseases expressed as sensitivity, specificity, survival or remission rate were extracted. The application of serum lactate dehydrogenase is relevant in the diagnosis of myocardial infarction (late detection), haemolytic anaemia, ovarian dysgerminoma and testicular germ cell tumor. For monitoring the progress of a disease lactate dehydrogenase is relevant in establishing the survival duration and rate in Hodgkin's disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and in the follow-up of ovarian dysgerminoma. Rational use of lactate dehydrogenase can be achieved when requests for its determination are limited to the above mentioned conditions. No rationale could be found for measuring lactate dehydrogenase isoenzymes.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Enzyme Tests / methods*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / blood*


  • Isoenzymes
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase