February 2016 – PAPR investigators presented the findings of the landmark PAPR study at the 2016 Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine meeting. The conclusions of the study and resulting American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Background:  Preterm delivery remains the leading cause of perinatal mortality. Risk factors and biomarkers have traditionally failed to identify the majority of preterm deliveries.

Study Design:  A total of 5501 pregnant women were enrolled between 17 0/7 and 28 6/7 weeks gestational age in the prospective Proteomic Assessment of Preterm Risk (PAPR) study at 11 sites in the United States between 2011 and 2013. Maternal blood was collected at enrollment and outcomes collected following delivery. Maternal serum was processed by a proteomic workflow, and proteins were quantified by multiple reaction monitoring mass spectrometry. The discovery and verification process identified 2 serum proteins, insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 4 (IBP4) and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), as predictors of spontaneous preterm delivery.

Results:  The predictor had an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve value of 0.75 and sensitivity and specificity of 0.75 and 0.74, respectively. The IBP4/SHBG predictor at this sensitivity and specificity had an odds ratio of 5.04 for spontaneous preterm delivery.

Conclusion:  A serum-based molecular predictor identifies asymptomatic pregnant women at risk of spontaneous preterm delivery, which may provide utility in identifying women at risk at an early stage of pregnancy to allow for clinical intervention. This early detection would guide enhanced levels of care and accelerate development of clinical strategies to prevent preterm delivery.

Online AJOG Publication