Background: Migraine is the most common neurological disorder and the second
most disabling human condition, whose pathogenesis is favored by a combination of genetic,
epigenetic, and environmental factors. In recent years, several efforts have been made to identify
reliable biomarker(s) useful to monitor disease activity and/or ascertain the response to a
Objective: To review the current evidence on the potential biological markers associated with
Methods: A structured search of peer-reviewed research literature was performed by searching
major publications databases up to December 2017.
Results: Several circulating biomarkers have been proposed as diagnostic or therapeutic tools
in migraine, mostly related to migraine’s inflammatory pathophysiological aspects. Nonetheless,
their detection is still a challenge for the scientific community, reflecting, at least in part,
disease complexity and clinical diagnostic limitations. At the present time, calcitonin generelated
peptide (CGRP) represents probably the most promising candidate as a diagnostic
and/or therapeutic biomarker, as its plasma levels are elevated during migraine attack and decrease
during successful treatment. Other molecules (including some neuropeptides, cytokines,
adipokines, or vascular activation markers) despite promising, do not possess the sufficient
prerequisites to be considered as migraine biomarkers.
Conclusion: The characterization of migraine-specific biomarkers would be fundamental in a
perspective of precision medicine, enabling risk assessment and tailored treatments. However,
speculating on the clinical validity of migraine biomarkers may be premature and controlled
clinical trials are presently needed to investigate both the diagnostic and therapeutic value of
these biomarkers in migraine.