Serum growth factors in asbestosis patients.
ABSTRACT Various growth factors, including platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta, have been implicated in the pathogenesis of asbestos-induced disease. PDGF and TGF-beta levels were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays in the banked serum samples of a cohort of workers with asbestosis, and the relationships of the growth factor levels to the subsequent development of cancer and to the radiographic severity and progression of asbestosis in the cohort were examined. Serum levels of PDGF and TGF-beta were found to be unrelated to the development of cancer, and serum levels of PDGF were found to be unrelated to the severity and progression of asbestosis. However, serum levels of TGF-beta were found to be statistically significantly related to disease severity (p = 0.01), increasing approximately 2.4-fold from ILO radiographic category 0 to category 3, and they were marginally related to disease progression (p = 0.07), in multivariate analysis controlling for other contributory factors including cumulative asbestos exposure. This suggests that serum TGF-beta may be a useful biomarker for asbestos-induced fibrotic disease.