Cytokines are the communicators of immune system and are involved in almost all immune responses. They have an important role in cancer pathogenesis. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between plasma cytokines and patient's/tumor characteristics and prognosis in metastatic chemonaive testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs).
The study population consisted of 92 chemonaive metastatic TGCTs patients, enrolled between July 2010 and March 2014. We analyzed 51 plasma cytokines at baseline before chemotherapy administration (n = 92) and on cycle 1 day 22 (n = 55) using multiplex bead arrays. Patients were treated with at least one cycle of cisplatin-based chemotherapy. Circulating cytokine levels were correlated with tumor characteristics, progression-free and overall survival as well.
Median age was 32.4 (range 18.4-65.4) years, median follow up was 33.2 month (range 0.1-54.8). Disease progression experienced 10.9 % and 7.6 % of patients died. Several baseline cytokines positively correlated with histology, disease stage, localization of metastases. Elevated baseline levels of IFN-alpha 2, IL-2R alpha, IL-16, HGF, MCP-3 significantly correlated with worse progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) as well, SCGF-beta only with worse OS. Higher levels of IL-12p40 measured on day 22 cycle 1 correlated with shorter PFS and OS.
The present study found out significant associations between circulating cytokines and prognosis and tumour/patient's characteristics in metastatic TGCTs. Our findings suggest, that plasma cytokines could be considered as biomarker for identification of high risk patients. In addition, new treatment approaches targeted for relevant cytokine should be investigated.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
National Cancer Institute, Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Slovak Research and Development Agency
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.