Identification of Biomarkers and Critical Evaluation of Biomarker Validation in Hidradenitis Suppurativa: A Systematic Review

Samuel Der Sarkissian, Schapoor Hessam, Joslyn S. Kirby, Michelle A. Lowes, Dillon Mintoff, Haley B. Naik, Hans Christian Ring, Nisha Chandran Suyien, John W. Frew

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Importance: The identification and validation of biomarkers in hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) has potential to improve the understanding and management of this chronic, burdensome disease. Objective: To systematically identify all known HS biomarkers, categorize them by biomarker type, and critically evaluate their validity according to established criteria. Evidence Review: Eligibility criteria for this review (PROSPERO Registration 230830) included randomized clinical trials, uncontrolled clinical trials, cohort studies, case-control studies, and other observational studies with no restrictions of patient age, sex, race or ethnicity, or language of publication up until December 31, 2020. All articles were categorized into biomarker type, defined using the US Food and Drug Administration Biomarkers, Endpoints, and other Tools (BEST) glossary. Assessment of each identified biomarker was undertaken in line with the US Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency guidelines for the validation of proposed biomarkers. Assessment of the strength of overall data regarding individual biomarkers was undertaken using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluations (GRADE) approach. Findings: A total of 3953 nonduplicate articles were screened, of which 1429 articles were retrieved based on the include/exclusion criteria applied. After full-text screen and data extraction, 106 articles were included in this review. The evidence of strength of 6 categories of biomarkers (susceptibility/risk, diagnostic, monitoring, predictive, prognostic, and pharmacodynamic/response biomarkers) was assessed using GRADE criteria. A total of 48 biomarkers were identified with a minimum GRADE rating of moderate. Only 1 diagnostic (serum IL-2R), 1 monitoring (dermal Doppler vascularity), and 2 predictive biomarkers (epithelialized tunnels and positive family history of HS) achieved a GRADE rating of high. None of the identified biomarkers had sufficient clinical validity to be recommended for routine use in the clinical setting. Conclusions and Relevance: Major barriers to the identification, validation, and introduction of routine biomarkers in the management of HS include lack of independent biomarker validation studies (especially assumption-free "omics"-based techniques); insufficient assessment of collinearity between identified or proposed biomarkers; and a lack of routine integration of biomarkers into the structure of clinical trials. International consensus among researchers, clinicians, and pharmaceutical stakeholders is required to standardize goals and methods and encourage biomarker integration into future HS clinical trials. This systematic review presents a number of priorities for near-term future research to overcome such barriers and limitations of biomarkers in HS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-313
Number of pages14
JournalJAMA Dermatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dermatology


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