Pathophysiological Role of Hormones and Cytokines in Cancer Cachexia

Division of Hematology & Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Bucheon Hospital, Bucheon, Korea.
Journal of Korean medical science (Impact Factor: 1.27). 02/2012; 27(2):128-34. DOI: 10.3346/jkms.2012.27.2.128
Source: PubMed


We investigated the role of fasting hormones and pro-inflammatory cytokines in cancer patients. Hormones (ghrelin, adiponectin, and leptin) and cytokines (TNF-α, IFN-γ, and IL-6) were measured by ELISA or RIA in lung cancer and colorectal cancer patients before the administration of cancer therapy, and measurements were repeated every 2 months for 6 months. From June 2006 to August 2008, 42 patients (19 with colorectal cancer and 23 with lung cancer) were enrolled. In total, 21 patients were included in the cachexia group and the others served as a comparison group. No significant difference in the initial adiponectin, ghrelin, TNF-α, IFN-γ, or IL-6 level was observed between groups, although leptin was significantly lower in cachectic patients than in the comparison group (15.3 ± 19.5 vs 80.9 ± 99.0 pg/mL, P = 0.007). During the follow-up, the patients who showed a > 5% weight gain had higher ghrelin levels after 6 months. Patients exhibiting elevated IL-6 levels typically showed a weight loss > 5% after 6 months. A blunted adiponectin or ghrelin response to weight loss may contribute to cancer cachexia and IL-6 may be responsible for inducing and maintaining cancer cachexia.

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    • "In this model, the presence of low-grade tumor induces host immune reactions, which lead to the chronic inflammatory response. Both, tumor and host cells produce different mediators, for example, C-reactive protein (CRP), proinflammatory cytokines with tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interferon-γ (IFN-γ) [3, 4], and adipocytokines [5, 6]. On the one hand, these factors have a protective role in the first phase of cancer development and on the other hand, an unlimited process of inflammation has deleterious effects. "
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