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The Usefulness of Serological Inflammatory Markers in Patients with Rotator Cuff Disease—A Systematic Review

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journal contribution
posted on 14.03.2022, 01:43 by Chi Ngai Lo, Pui Lam Bernard LeungPui Lam Bernard Leung, Shirley Pui Ching Ngai
Background and Objectives: Rotator cuff disease (RCD) is a prominent musculoskeletal pain condition that spans a variety of pathologies. The etiology and precise diagnostic criteria of this condition remain unclear. The current practice of investigating the biochemical status of RCD is by conducting biopsy studies but their invasiveness is a major limitation. Recent biochemical studies on RCD demonstrate the potential application of serological tests for evaluating the disease which may benefit future clinical applications and research. This systematic review is to summarize the results of available studies on serological biochemical investigations in patients with RCD. Methods: An electronic search on databases PubMed and Virtual Health Library was conducted from inception to 1 September 2021. The inclusion criteria were case-control, cross-sectional, and cohort studies with serological biochemical investigations on humans with RCD. Methodological quality was assessed using the Study Quality Assessment Tool for Observational Cohort and Cross-sectional studies from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Results: A total of 6008 records were found in the databases; of these, 163 full-text studies were checked for inclusion and exclusion criteria. Nine eligible studies involving 984 subjects with RCD emerged from this systematic review. The quality of the studies found ranged from poor to moderate. In summarizing all the studies, several fatty acids, nonprotein nitrogen, interleukin-1 β, interleukin-8, and vascular endothelial growth factor were found to be significantly higher in blood samples of patients with RCD than with control group patients ,while Omega-3 Intex, vitamin B12, vitamin D, phosphorus, interleukin-10, and angiogenin were observed to be significantly lower. Conclusions: This is the first systematic review to summarize current serological studies in patients with RCD. Results of the studies reflect several systemic physiological changes in patients with RCD, which may prove helpful to better understand the complex pathology of RCD. In addition, the results also indicate the possibility of using serological tests in order to evaluate RCD; however, further longitudinal studies are required.


This research was supported by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Project ID:P0033831/ZVRR) to Ngai SPC.


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Chi Ngai Lo