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The assessment of Dickkopf-1 and Dickkopf-2 protein concentration in different subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer subtypes.

INTRODUCTION: Lung cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers worldwide. Dickkopf-1 (DKK-1) and -2 (DKK-2) are important proteins for the regulated Wnt signalling pathway. Alternations in the Wnt pathway are associated with tumour progression. The aim of the study was to analyse the concentration of DKK-1 and DKK-2 in tumour and matched non-tumour (NT) samples of 65 patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), including 3 subtypes: adenocarcinoma (AC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and large cell carcinoma (LCC).

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The protein concentration was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in homogenates.

RESULTS: The difference between the level of DKK-1 in tumour and NT specimens was not significant for the whole NSCLC group and SCC and LCC subtype, while in AC samples they were significantly higher ( p = 0.028). The highest concentration of DKK-1 was found in the advanced NSCLC samples, with the T4 parameter as well as stage III. Significantly decreased DKK-2 concentrations were detected in all NSCLC subtypes ( p < 0.05). Moreover, the DKK-2 level was higher in non-smokers than in smokers. The results indicate that concentrations of DKKs were different in relation to subtypes as well as clinical and socio-demographic parameters. The concentration of DKKs could be associated with the progression of NSCLC.

CONCLUSIONS: We suggest that DKK-1 could play an oncogenic role in AC, while DKK-2 could be a tumour suppressor in all NSCLC subtypes. Dickkopf-1 and DKK-2 proteins could have differential roles in the Wnt signalling pathway, which is important in many cellular processes, such as proliferation and apoptosis.

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