Prospective cohort studies often quantify serum immune biomarkers at a single time point to determine risk of cancer and other chronic diseases that develop years later. Estimates of the within-person temporal stability of serum markers partly assess the utility of single biomarker measurements, and may have important implications for the design of prospective studies of chronic disease risk.
Using archived sera collected from 200 HIV-seronegative men at three visits spaced over approximately two years, concentrations of 14 biomarkers (ApoA1, sCD14, sgp130, sIL-6R, sIL-2Rα, sTNFR2, BAFF/BLyS, CXCL13, IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, TNF-α) were measured in a single laboratory. Age-and ethnicity-adjusted intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) were calculated for each biomarker, and mixed linear regression models were utilized to examine the influence of age, ethnicity, season, and study site on biomarker concentrations.
Across all three study visits, most biomarkers had ICC values indicating fair to excellent within-person stability. ApoA1 (ICC=0.88)and TNF-α (ICC=0.87) showed the greatest stability; the ICC for IL-8 (ICC=0.33) was remarkably less stable. The ICCs were similar when calculated between pairs of consecutive visits. The covariables did not influence biomarker levels or their temporal stability. All biomarkers showed moderate to strong pairwise correlations across visits.
Serum concentrations of most evaluated immune biomarkers displayed acceptable to excellent within-person temporal reliability over a 2-year period. Further investigation may be required to clarify the stability of IL-8.
These findings lend support to using these serologic immune biomarkers in prospective studies investigating associations with chronic diseases.