Sarcoidosis is a systemic granulomatous disease of unknown etiology and pathogenesis with a heterogeneous clinical presentation. In the appropriate clinical and radiological context and with the exclusion of other diagnoses, the disease is characterized by the pathological presence of non-caseating epithelioid cell granulomas. Sarcoidosis is postulated to be a multifactorial disease caused by chronic antigenic stimulation. The immunopathogenesis of sarcoidosis encompasses a complex interaction between the host, genetic factors and postulated environmental and infectious triggers, which result in granuloma development.
The exact pathogenesis of the disease has yet to be elucidated, but some of the inflammatory pathways that play a key role in disease progression and outcomes are becoming apparent, and these may form the logical basis for selecting potential biomarkers.
Biomarkers are biological molecules that are altered pathologically. To date, there exists no single reliable biomarker for the evaluation of sarcoidosis, either diagnostically or prognostically but new candidates are emerging. A diagnosis of sarcoidosis ideally requires a biopsy confirming non-caseating granulomas, but the likelihood of progression that requires intervention remains unpredictable. These challenging aspects could be potentially resolved by incorporating biomarkers into clinical practice for both diagnosis and monitoring disease activity.
This review outlines the current knowledge on sarcoidosis with an emphasis on pulmonary sarcoidosis, and delineates the understanding surrounding the implication of biomarkers for the clinical evaluation of sarcoidosis.
- lung diseases
- evidence-based medicine
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Contributors AM planned and wrote the initial draft of the manuscript; CH and PT edited the manuscript for submission.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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