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BACKGROUND: The ratio of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (sFlt-1) to placental growth factor (PlGF) is elevated in pregnant women before the clinical onset of preeclampsia, but its predictive value in women with suspected preeclampsia is unclear. METHODS: We performed a prospective, multicenter, observational study to derive and validate a ratio of serum sFlt-1 to PlGF that would be predictive of the absence or presence of preeclampsia in the short term in women with singleton pregnancies in whom preeclampsia was suspected (24 weeks 0 days to 36 weeks 6 days of gestation). Primary objectives were to assess whether low sFlt-1:PlGF ratios (at or below a derived cutoff) predict the absence of preeclampsia within 1 week after the first visit and whether high ratios (above the cutoff) predict the presence of preeclampsia within 4 weeks. RESULTS: In the development cohort (500 women), we identified an sFlt-1:PlGF ratio cutoff of 38 as having important predictive value. In a subsequent validation study among an additional 550 women, an sFlt-1:PlGF ratio of 38 or lower had a negative predictive value (i.e., no preeclampsia in the subsequent week) of 99.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 97.9 to 99.9), with 80.0% sensitivity (95% CI, 51.9 to 95.7) and 78.3% specificity (95% CI, 74.6 to 81.7). The positive predictive value of an sFlt-1:PlGF ratio above 38 for a diagnosis of preeclampsia within 4 weeks was 36.7% (95% CI, 28.4 to 45.7), with 66.2% sensitivity (95% CI, 54.0 to 77.0) and 83.1% specificity (95% CI, 79.4 to 86.3). CONCLUSIONS: An sFlt-1:PlGF ratio of 38 or lower can be used to predict the short-term absence of preeclampsia in women in whom the syndrome is suspected clinically. (Funded by Roche Diagnostics.).

Original publication




Journal article


N Engl J Med

Publication Date





13 - 22


Adult, Biomarkers, Female, Humans, Pre-Eclampsia, Predictive Value of Tests, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Proteins, Prospective Studies, ROC Curve, Sensitivity and Specificity, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-1