Serum cytokines in pancreatic cancer: Correlation with outcome

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2003 ASCO Annual Meeting

Abstract No:1044 Proc Am Soc Clin Oncol 22: 2003 (abstr 1044)

B. Ebrahimi, J. L. Abbruzzese, D. Li, S. Tucker, R. Kurzrock; Univerity of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Ctr, Houston, TX


Cytokines have been implicated in diverse processes relevant to pancreatic cancer including cachexia, asthenia, and tumor growth. The objective of this study was to examine the correlation between pro- and anti-inflammatory or angiogenic cytokines {interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA), IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a ), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels and outcome of patients with pancreatic cancer.

Serum cytokines were measured by ELISA from 51 pancreatic cancer patients and from healthy volunteers (n= 30 to 62 depending on the cytokine). Cytokine levels were correlated with overall survival.

Levels of VEGF and TNF-a were not significantly elevated in pancreatic cancer patients as compared to healthy volunteers. However, levels of IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 were significantly higher in pancreatic cancer patients (p <0.0001). Furthermore, there was a trend toward higher IL-1RA level in pancreatic cancer patients compared to healthy volunteers (p=0.10). Levels of cytokines were dichotomized using Martingale analysis and correlated with overall survival. Patients with IL-1RA <159 pg/ml had significantly worse survival than patients with higher IL-1RA levels (p = 0.001).

Patients with IL-6 > 5.2 pg/ml or IL-10 > 9.8pg/ml had significantly worse survival than patients with lower IL-6 or IL-10 levels (p<0.01). IL-8 levels did not correlate with outcome. In conclusion, serum IL-6, IL-10 and IL-8 levels are significantly elevated in pancreatic cancer patients as compared to healthy volunteers and IL-1RA levels show a trend towards elevation. In univariate analysis, high IL-6 and IL-10 levels correlate with a poor outcome, as do low IL-1RA levels. Additional studies are in progress to increase the number of patients in order to determine prognostic significance in multivariate analysis. Finally, the biologic role of these cytokines in pancreatic cancer merits exploration.