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Clinical significances of preoperative serum interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein level in operable gastric cancer

Do-Kyong Kim, Sung Yong Oh, Hyuk-Chan Kwon, Suee Lee, Kyung A Kwon, Byung Geun Kim, Seong-Geun Kim, Sung-Hyun Kim, Jin Seok Jang, Min Chan Kim, Kyeong Hee Kim, Jin-Yeong Han, Hyo-Jin Kim
BMC Cancer 2009 May 20, 9: 155
19457231

BACKGROUND: The interleukin-6 (IL-6) pathway is one of the mechanisms that link inflammation and angiogenesis to malignancy. Because the C-reactive protein (CRP) is a representative marker for inflammation, CRP has recently been associated with the progression of disease in many cancer types. The principal objective of this study was to determine the preoperative serum levels of IL-6 and CRP in gastric carcinoma, and to correlate them with disease status and prognosis.

METHODS: A total of 115 patients who underwent gastrectomy were enrolled in this study. Serum levels of IL-6 were assessed via Enzyme-Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay (ELISA), and CRP was measured via immunoturbidimetry. Histological findings included tumor size, depth of tumor invasion, lymph node (LN) metastasis, and TNM stage (6th AJCC Stage Groupings: The staging systems; Primary tumor, regional LN, metastasis).

RESULTS: Increases in cancer invasion and staging are generally associated with increases in preoperative serum IL-6 levels. IL-6 and CRP levels were correlated with invasion depth (P < 0.001, P = 0.001), LN metastasis (P < 0.001, P = 0.024) and TNM stage (P < 0.001, P < 0.001). The presence of peritoneal seeding metastasis is associated with IL-6 levels (P = 0.012). When we established the cutoff value for IL-6 level (6.77 pg/dL) by ROC curve, we noted significant differences in time to progression (TTP; P < 0.001) and overall survival (OS; P = 0.010). However, CRP evidenced no significance with regard to patients' TTP and OS levels. Serum IL-6 levels were correlated positively with CRP levels (r2 = 0.049, P = 0.018).

CONCLUSION: Preoperative serum IL-6 and CRP levels might be markers of tumor invasion, LN metastasis, and TNM stage. Preoperative high IL-6 levels were proposed as a poor prognostic factor for disease recurrence and overall survival in patients with gastric cancers.

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