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Surrogate marker

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(1) A measure of the biological activity inside the body that indicates the effect of treatment on the state of disease.

(2) A laboratory biomarker that measures the effect of a treatment to indicate, reflect or substitute a clinical endpoint.


In clinical or laboratory experiments, surrogate markers are used when a clinical endpoint is undesired or unethical to wait for (e.g. death) or when there are limited number of cases.

An example is CD4 cell counts as a surrogate marker for death from HIV infection.

Also called: surrogate endpoint

See also: clinical endpoint