Inflammation and Hemostasis Biomarkers for Predicting Stroke in Postmenopausal Women: The Women's Health Initiative Observational Study


      Inflammatory and hemostasis-related biomarkers may identify women at risk of stroke.


      Hormones and Biomarkers Predicting Stroke is a study of ischemic stroke among postmenopausal women participating in the Women's Health Initiative observational study (n = 972 case-control pairs). A Biomarker Risk Score (BRS) was derived from levels of 7 inflammatory and hemostasis-related biomarkers that appeared individually to predict risk of ischemic stroke: C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6, tissue plasminogen activator, D-dimer, white blood cell count, neopterin, and homocysteine. The c index was used to evaluate discrimination.


      Of all the individual biomarkers examined, CRP emerged as the only independent single predictor of ischemic stroke (adjusted odds ratio comparing Quartile4 v Quartile1 = 1.64, 95% confidence interval: 1.15-2.32, P = .01) after adjustment for other biomarkers and standard stroke risk factors. The BRS identified a gradient of increasing stroke risk with a greater number of elevated inflammatory/hemostasis biomarkers, and improved the c index significantly compared with standard stroke risk factors (P = .02). Among the subset of individuals who met current criteria for high-risk levels of CRP (>3.0 mg/L), the BRS defined an approximately 2-fold gradient of risk. We found no evidence for a relationship between stroke and levels of E-selectin, fibrinogen, tumor necrosis factor-α, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, prothrombin fragment 1+2, Factor VIIC, or plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 antigen (P > .15).


      The findings support the further exploration of multiple biomarker panels to develop approaches for stratifying an individual's risk of stroke.

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