Cytokine and cytokine receptor serum levels in adult bone sarcoma patients: correlations with local tumor extent and prognosis

Piotr Rutkowski, Janina KamiƄska, Maria Kowalska, Wlodzimierz Ruka, Jan Steffen
Journal of Surgical Oncology 2003, 84 (3): 151-9

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: We analyzed the correlations between pretreatment serum levels of 11 cytokines and soluble cytokine receptors (interleukin 6 (IL-6); interleukin 8 (IL-8); interleukin 10 (IL-10); vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF); basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF); macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF); granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF); interleukin 1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra); sIL-2Ralpha; tumor necrosis factor receptor I (TNF RI), and TNF RII) with clinico-pathological features and survival of patients with bone sarcomas.

METHODS: Altogether, 72 patients with bone sarcomas without distant metastases before treatment (26 osteosarcomas-36%, 23 chondrosarcomas-32%, 13 Ewing's sarcomas/PNET-18%, 10 giant-cell tumors-14%), 22 patients with benign non-inflammatory bone tumors and 50 age-matched healthy controls were included into this prospective study.

RESULTS: Median serum levels of 9/11 cytokines, with the exception of sIL-2Ralpha and G-CSF, were significantly higher in sarcoma patients than in controls. Median serum levels of IL-6, IL-8, IL-1ra, TNF RI, and M-CSF were significantly higher in patients with bone sarcoma as compared to patients with benign bone tumors. In 45.9% of sarcoma patients, six or more cytokines and cytokine receptors, including those that are involved in bone destruction (e.g., IL-6 and IL-8) and bone formation (e.g., IL-1ra and TNFRI and TNFRII), were elevated in parallel. Serum levels of IL-6, IL-8, TNF RI, TNF RII, and VEGF correlated significantly with tumor size (<10 cm vs. >or=10 cm in diameter) and serum levels of IL-6, IL-8, TNF RI, and IL-1ra correlated significantly with local tumor extent (E2/4 vs. E5/6 according to the classification proposed by Spanier et al. 46). Moreover, serum levels of IL-1ra and IL-6 were significantly higher in patients with small tumors (<5 cm in diameter) infiltrating structures adjacent to the periosteum (E5/6) than in large tumors (>10 cm in diameter) but confined to the bone and periosteum (E < 4). The lowest median serum levels of 8/11 cytokines/cytokine receptors were found in patients with giant-cell tumors. In an univariate analysis, increased serum levels of IL-1ra, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, sIL-2Ralpha, M-CSF, TNF RI, and TNF RII, the number of cytokines elevated, higher tumor grade, larger tumor size, greater local extent (E) and patients' age >35 years correlated with poor overall survival (OS) (P < 0.05). Similarly, high serum levels of IL-1ra, IL-6, TNF RI and TNF RII, tumor grade, tumor size, and tumor local extent (E) (P < 0.05) affected disease free survival (DFS) in univariate analysis. Multivariate analysis using Cox's proportional hazards model showed that high serum levels of IL-1ra (P = 0.039) and TNF RI (P = 0.048), the number of serum cytokines above normal cut-off values (0-1 vs. 2-5 vs. >or=6; P = 0.029), greater tumor local extent E (E2/4 vs. E5/6; P = 0.02) correlated significantly with shorter OS. Only E was found as an independent prognostic factor for DFS (P = 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that cytokines and soluble cytokine receptors, both physiologically involved in bone destruction and bone formation, have an essential role in the progression of malignant bone tumors.

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