Ghrelin level and body weight loss after esophagectomy for esophageal cancer

Tatsuya Miyazaki, Naritaka Tanaka, Hanako Hirai, Takehiko Yokobori, Akihiko Sano, Makoto Sakai, Takanori Inose, Makoto Sohda, Masanobu Nakajima, Minoru Fukuchi, Hiroyuki Kato, Hiroyuki Kuwano
Journal of Surgical Research 2012, 176 (1): 74-8

BACKGROUND: Ghrelin is a peptide hormone predominantly produced by endocrine cells in the oxyntic mucosa of the stomach and is an endogenous ligand for the growth hormone secretagogue receptor. Ghrelin plays an important role in regulating appetite, food intake, and energy metabolism. We investigated the correlation between clinicopathologic factors and plasma ghrelin concentration before and after esophagectomy with gastric tube reconstruction for esophageal cancer treatment.

METHODS: The study group comprised 25 patients (22 men, three women, age range 46-78 y) with esophageal cancer who underwent esophagectomy with gastric tube reconstruction between 1999 and 2007. Blood samples were collected before and three times after the operation. Plasma concentrations of ghrelin were determined using a sandwich-type enzyme immunoassay kit.

RESULTS: Plasma ghrelin concentrations were significantly decreased to 38.7% of the preoperative concentration at postoperative d 7. Plasma ghrelin concentrations recovered slightly over 6-24 mo postoperatively. After 36 mo or longer, ghrelin concentrations had returned to preoperative levels. There was no relationship between ghrelin concentrations and gender, location of tumor, tumor stage, operative procedure, and reconstruction route at each time point. There was a significant relationship between the decrease in body mass index and decrease in plasma ghrelin in patients at 6-24 mo after esophagectomy (P < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Plasma ghrelin concentrations decrease on a temporary basis after esophagectomy with gastric tube reconstruction and are associated with body weight loss after surgery.

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