Introduction and aim
Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin (CDT) is one of the most used biomarkers for monitoring alcohol use in pregnancy. However, its effective application in this context is hampered by the demonstrated
physiological progressive increase during pregnancy (even in abstinent women) of CDT values, which in the third trimester can reach values close or exceeding the cut-offs usually adopted in
clinical and forensic diagnostics. The present work was aimed at the re-assessment of CDT reference values in pregnancy.
Materials and Methods
The CDT analysis was performed by a validated HPLC-UV Vis method on 284 serum samples of women with a physiological pregnancy and on 370 sera of non-pregnant woman from the general
population (control group). All the samples were tested also for GGT for excluding alcohol abuse. The statistical analysis was performed using the MedCalc® Statistical Software.
The re-definition of the specific reference concentrations was carried out according to the Horn and Pesce Robust Method. The resulting CDT upper reference values were 1.45%, 2.01% and 2.05% in
the first, second, and third trimester, respectively.
In order to prevent the development of maternal and fetal prenatal alcohol exposure complications, the use of alcohol biomarkers, including CDT, has been proposed. However, this biomarker, in the
monitoring of alcohol use in pregnancy, has so far been applied adopting the same cut-off used for general population without taking into consideration the progressive physiological increase of its
value throughout the pregnancy. In the present study, a specific re-assessment of the CDT reference concentrations of each trimester is reported.