M-ficolin: a valuable biomarker to identify leukaemia from juvenile idiopathic arthritis

Ninna Brix*, Mia Glerup, Steffen Thiel, Clara Elbæk Mistegaard, Regitze Gyldenholm Skals, Lillemor Berntson, Anders Fasth, Susan Mary Nielsen, Ellen Nordal, Marite Rygg, Henrik Hasle, Birgitte Klug Albertsen, Troels Herlin, Nordic Study Group of Pediatric Rheumatology (NoSPeR) group

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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OBJECTIVE: Distinction on clinical grounds between acute lymphoblastic leukaemia presenting with arthropathy (ALLarthropathy) and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is difficult, as the clinical and paraclinical signs of leukaemia may be vague. The primary aim was to examine the use of lectin complement pathway proteins as markers to differentiate ALLarthropathy from JIA. The secondary aims were to compare the protein levels at baseline and follow-up in a paired number of children with ALL and to examine the correlation with haematology counts, erythrocyte sedimentation reaction (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), blasts, relapse and death.

STUDY DESIGN: In this observational study, we measured M-ficolin, CL-K1 and MASP-3 in serum from children with ALL (n=151) and JIA (n=238) by time-resolved immunofluorometric assays. Logistic regression was used for predictions of ALL risk, considering the markers as the respective exposures. We performed internal validation using repeated '10-fold cross-validation' with 100 repetitions computing the area under the curve (AUC) as well as positive and negative predictive values in order to evaluate the predictive performance.

RESULTS: The level of M-ficolin was higher in JIA than ALLtotal and the ALLarthropathy subgroup. The M-ficolin level normalised after remission of ALL. M-ficolin could differentiate ALL from JIA with an AUC of 94% and positive predictive value (PPV) of 95%, exceeding CRP and haemoglobin. In a dichotomised predictive model with optimal cut-offs for M-ficolin, platelets and haemoglobin, AUC was 99% and PPV 98% in detecting ALL from JIA.

CONCLUSION: M-ficolin is a valuable marker to differentiate the child with ALL from JIA.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)371-376
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


  • cell biology
  • pain
  • rheumatology
  • statistics


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