The use of Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin (NGAL) as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker in urinary tract obstruction: a systematic review

Journal article

Brewin, Anna, Sriprasad, Sheshadri and Somani, B. 2022. The use of Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin (NGAL) as a diagnostic and prognostic biomarker in urinary tract obstruction: a systematic review. Current Urology Reports.
AuthorsBrewin, Anna, Sriprasad, Sheshadri and Somani, B.
AbstractThe early recognition of urinary tract obstruction (UTO) is vital in order to prevent mortality and morbidity associated with an acute kidney injury (AKI) and progression to irreversible kidney damage. Urinary biomarkers such as neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) have been recognised as an accurate tool in the timely diagnosis of AKI, but its role in the detection, prognosis and subsequent monitoring of a variety of obstructive uropathies has not yet been explored. We performed a systematic review of literature in accordance with Cochrane methodology from inception to August 2021. Eleven studies were included in which urine and serum NGAL were measured (616 patients) presenting with multiple UTO aetiologies. Four investigated kidney stone disease (KSD) exclusively, whilst other studies identified other causes of UTO including pelviureteric junction obstruction (PUJO), retroperitoneal fibrosis (RPF) and ureteric strictures. Six studies monitored NGAL levels after surgical intervention to relieve the obstruction. Nine studies demonstrated a significant increase in both urine and serum NGAL levels in UTO, often in a more sensitive and timely manner than serum creatinine. Subclinical unilateral UTO could be recognised by urinary NGAL levels even in the absence of changes in serum creatinine. Following surgical intervention, a reduction in urinary and serum NGAL was seen in all but two studies. NGAL levels decreased acutely by 14% in 2 h and showed a long-term reduction of 78% in 6 months. Readily available but not yet widely accepted, NGAL has the potential to be a less invasive, low-cost diagnostic test for urinary tract obstructions as a whole. Not only can it be used as a marker of treatment success but also to monitor for obstruction recurrence or progression. Further research is required to acknowledge urinary biomarkers such as NGAL as a potential replacement to standard renal function monitoring tests in the context of obstructive uropathy. [Abstract copyright: © 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.]
KeywordsAcute kidney injury; Urinary biomarkers; Uropathy; NGAL; Kidney stone disease; Urinary tract obstruction
JournalCurrent Urology Reports
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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Publication dates
Online09 Jun 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted02 May 2022
Deposited28 Jun 2022
Output statusPublished
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