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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 164081, 8 pages
Review Article

Biochemical Markers of Spontaneous Preterm Birth in Asymptomatic Women

Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB 7435, McGavran-Greenberg Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7435, USA

Received 29 April 2013; Accepted 21 October 2013; Published 19 January 2014

Academic Editor: John P. Geisler

Copyright © 2014 Ronna L. Chan. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Preterm birth is a delivery that occurs at less than 37 completed weeks of gestation and it is associated with perinatal morbidity and mortality. Spontaneous preterm birth accounts for up to 75% of all preterm births. A number of maternal or fetal characteristics have been associated with preterm birth, but the use of individual or group biochemical markers have advanced some of the understanding on the mechanisms leading to spontaneous preterm birth. This paper provides a summary on the current literature on the use of biochemical markers in predicting spontaneous preterm birth in asymptomatic women. Evidence from the literature suggests fetal fibronectin, cervical interleukin-6, and -fetoprotein as promising biochemical markers in predicting spontaneous preterm birth in asymptomatic women. The role of gene-gene and gene-environment interactions, as well as epigenetics, has the potential to further elucidate and improve understanding of the underlying mechanisms or pathways of spontaneous preterm birth. Refinement in study design and methodology is needed in future research for the development and validation of individual or group biochemical marker(s) for use independently or in conjunction with other potential risk factors such as genetic variants and environmental and behavioral factors in predicting spontaneous preterm birth across diverse populations.