The preterm prediction study: Quantitative fetal fibronectin values and the prediction of spontaneous preterm birth

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVE: A cervicovaginal fetal fibronectin value of ≥50 ng/mL has been used to define women at risk of having a preterm birth. We evaluated the relationship between quantitative fetal fibronectin values and spontaneous preterm birth. STUDY DESIGN: Cervical and vaginal specimens for fetal fibronectin were obtained at 24, 26, 28, and 30 weeks' gestation from 2926 women. Quantitative fetal fibronectin values were calculated by using absorbances determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The highest fetal fibronectin value (cervical or vaginal) for each woman at each visit was evaluated in relation to spontaneous preterm birth at <35 weeks' gestation. Receiver operating characteristic curves were constructed to determine the optimal cutoff point for fetal fibronectin values to predict spontaneous preterm birth at <35 weeks' gestation and within 4 weeks of testing. RESULTS: The risk of spontaneous preterm birth increased as a function of increasing fetal fibronectin values from approximately 20 to 300 ng/mL. Fetal fibronectin values ≥300 ng/mL were not associated with a further increase in spontaneous preterm birth. Examination of the receiver operating characteristic curve indicates that the optimal cutoff point for a positive fetal fibronectin test result at 24 to 30 weeks' gestation to predict spontaneous preterm birth at <35 weeks is between 45 and 60 ng/mL. CONCLUSION: Increasing levels of cervicovaginal fetal fibronectin up to 300 ng/mL are associated with an increasing risk of spontaneous preterm birth. Nevertheless, at 24 to 30 weeks, the value currently used, 50 ng of fetal fibronectin per milliliter, appears to be a reasonable cutoff point for predicting spontaneous preterm birth at <35 weeks' gestation.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Goepfert AR; Goldenberg RL; Mercer B; Iams J; Meis P; Moawad A; Thom E; VanDorsten JP; Caritis SN; Thurnau G
  • Start Page

  • 1480
  • End Page

  • 1483
  • Volume

  • 183
  • Issue

  • 6