Urocortin Expression in Endometriosis: A Systematic Review
Urocortin (UCN) is a neuropeptide that belongs to the corticotrophin-releasing hormone family and is expressed by eutopic and ectopic human endometria. The past years, this expression has been thoroughly investigated in the field of endometriosis. The objective of this systematic review is to accumulate current evidence related to the expression of UCN in tissue and blood samples of patients suffering from endometriosis. Literature search was designed accord- ing to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines and primarily conducted using the Medline (1966-2018), Scopus (2004-2018), EMBASE (1947-2018) and Clinicaltrials.gov (2008- 2018) databases, along with the reference lists of electronically retrieved full-text papers. Overall, eight studies were retrieved. Current evidence suggests that the expression of UCN is increased in patients with ovarian endometriomas and that its levels may correlate with the severity of the disease. The diagnostic efficacy of UCN1 plasma levels was evaluated in three studies. Two of them suggested that the sensitivity and specificity of the method may reach, and even exceed, 80%. However, the wide variation in outcome reporting and outcome reporting measures in endome- triosis among the included studies precludes meta-analysis of available data. Therefore, although UCN seems to be a promising biomarker for the identification and follow-up of patients that suffer from endometriosis, more studies are needed to reach firm conclusions with respect to its predictive accuracy.