Research Article| Volume 95, ISSUE 2, P154-158, April 2001

Predicting preterm delivery: comparison of cervicovaginal interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6 and IL-8 with fetal fibronectin and cervical dilatation


      Objective: To compare the cervicovaginal cytokines IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-8 with fetal fibronectin (fFN) and cervical dilatation in the prediction of preterm delivery. Study design: Cervicovaginal cytokine concentration and fFN status were measured in 104 women with symptoms of preterm labour and intact membranes between 240 and 336 weeks and related to delivery within 2 and 7 days. Results: A group of 18% had cervical dilatation≥1 cm and 18% were positive for fFN. Preterm delivery within 2 and 7 days occurred in 5 and 12%, respectively. Only IL-6 demonstrated any ability to predict delivery within 2 and 7 days (area under the ROC curve=0.63 and 0.75, respectively). Using 35 pg/ml (75th centile) as a cut-off, IL-6 had a sensitivity and specificity of 60 and 77% for predicting delivery within 2 days, and 62 and 80% for predicting delivery within 7 days. This is similar to the performance of cervical dilatation or fFN status. Conclusions: Measurement of cervicovaginal cytokines has limited ability to predict imminent delivery apart from cervicovaginal IL-6 concentrations, which, in this population, is equivalent to that of fFN status and cervical dilatation≥1 cm.


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