Serum ECP as a diagnostic marker for asthma in children less than 5 years: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Mounika Polavarapu, Hillary Klonoff-Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Currently, there are no clear-cut clinical or laboratory parameters to diagnose asthma in young children. Spirometry or the lung function tests cannot be reliably measured in children less than 5 years. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of serum eosinophilic cationic protein (sECP) in diagnosing asthma among children less than 5 years of age. Methods: A systematic review was performed in PubMed, EMBASE, and Web of Science databases to identify studies investigating the role of sECP in diagnosing childhood asthma. The quality of each study was assessed using quality assessment of diagnostic accuracy studies 2 scale. A meta-analysis was conducted using the RevMan 5.3 application. Results: A total of eight studies meeting the eligibility criteria were included in the systematic review and five studies in the meta-analysis. There was a degree of clinical heterogeneity between studies primarily related to the definition of asthma and the time of assessment of sECP levels. Pooled sensitivity was 0.79 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.66–0.88), pooled specificity was 0.79 (95% CI: 0.54–0.92), and the pooled diagnostic odds ratio was 14.73 (95% CI: 3.58–60.58). Conclusion: Overall, this review found insufficient evidence to support the role of sECP levels in diagnosing early childhood asthma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3243-3251
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Pulmonology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • childhood asthma
  • diagnostic marker
  • inflammatory markers
  • meta-analysis
  • serum ECP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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