The accuracy of estimation of kidney function with the use of routine metabolic tests, such as measurement of the serum creatinine level, has been controversial. The European Kidney Function Consortium (EKFC) developed a creatinine-based equation (EKFC eGFRcr) to estimate the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) with a rescaled serum creatinine level (i.e., the serum creatinine level is divided by the median serum creatinine level among healthy persons to control for variation related to differences in age, sex, or race). Whether a cystatin C–based EKFC equation would increase the accuracy of estimated GFR is unknown.
We used data from patients in Sweden to estimate the rescaling factor for the cystatin C level in adults. We then replaced rescaled serum creatinine in the EKFC eGFRcr equation with rescaled cystatin C, and we validated the resulting EKFC eGFRcys equation in cohorts of White patients and Black patients in Europe, the United States, and Africa, according to measured GFR, levels of serum creatinine and cystatin C, age, and sex.
On the basis of data from 227,643 patients in Sweden, the rescaling factor for cystatin C was estimated at 0.83 for men and women younger than 50 years of age and 0.83+0.005×(age–50) for those 50 years of age or older. The EKFC eGFRcys equation was unbiased, had accuracy that was similar to that of the EKFC eGFRcr equation in both White patients and Black patients (11,231 patients from Europe, 1093 from the United States, and 508 from Africa), and was more accurate than the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration eGFRcys equation recommended by Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes. The arithmetic mean of EKFC eGFRcr and EKFC eGFRcys further improved the accuracy of estimated GFR over estimates from either biomarker equation alone.
The EKFC eGFRcys equation had the same mathematical form as the EKFC eGFRcr equation, but it had a scaling factor for cystatin C that did not differ according to race or sex. In cohorts from Europe, the United States, and Africa, this equation improved the accuracy of GFR assessment over that of commonly used equations.