BACKGROUND:
Throughout life, inguinal hernia develops in approximately every fourth man, some of whom develop multiple hernias. If patients at risk of developing multiple hernias could be identified by a serologic biomarker, treatment might be able to be tailored and improved. Evidence suggests that abdominal wall hernia formation is associated with altered collagen metabolism. The aim of this study was to evaluate biomarkers for type IV and V collagen turnover in patients with multiple hernias and control subjects without hernia.

METHODS:
Venous blood was collected from 88 men (mean age, 62 years) with a history of more than 3 hernia repairs and 86, age-matched men without hernias. Biomarkers for synthesis of collagen type IV (P4NP) and type V (P5CP) as well as breakdown (C4M and C5M) were measured in serum by validated, solid-phase, competitive assays. Collagen turnover was indicated by the ratio between the biomarker for synthesis and breakdown.

RESULTS:
Type IV collagen turnover was 1.4-fold increased in patients with multiple hernias compared to control subjects (P < .001), whereas type V collagen turnover was 1.7-fold decreased (P < .001). Diagnostic power of P5CP was 0.83 (95%C.I.:0.77-0.89), P < .001.

CONCLUSION:
Patients with multiple hernias exhibit increased turnover of type IV collagen and a decreased turnover of type V collagen, demonstrating systemically altered collagen turnover. Biomarkers for type V collagen turnover may be used to identify patients at risk for or with multiple hernias.