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Cell Stress Chaperones. 2009 May;14(3):245-51. doi: 10.1007/s12192-008-0078-5. Epub 2008 Sep 18.

The level of Hsp27 in lymphocytes is negatively associated with a higher risk of lung cancer.

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  • 1Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Hubei, 430030, People's Republic of China.


Heat shock proteins (Hsps) can protect cells, organs, and whole organisms against damage caused by abnormal environmental hazards. Some studies have reported that lymphocyte Hsps may serve as biomarkers for evaluating disease status and exposure to environmental stresses; however, few epidemiologic studies have examined the associations between lymphocyte Hsps levels and lung cancer risk. We examined lymphocyte levels of Hsp27 and Hsp70 in 263 lung cancer cases and age- and gender-matched cancer-free controls by flow cytometry. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to estimate the association between lymphocyte Hsps levels and lung cancer risk. Our results showed that Hsp27 levels were significantly lower in lung cancer cases than in controls (16.5 vs 17.8 mean fluorescence intensity, P < 0.001). This was not observed for Hsp70 levels. Further stratification analysis revealed that lymphocyte Hsp27 levels were negatively associated with lung cancer risk especially in males and heavy smokers. There was a statistical trend of low odd ratios (95% confidence intervals) and upper tertile levels of Hsp27 [1.000, 0.904 (0.566-1.444) and 0.382 (0.221-0.658, P (trend) = 0.001) in males and 1.000, 0.9207 (0.465-1.822) and 0.419 (0.195-0.897, P (trend) = 0.036) in heavy smokers] after adjustment for confounding factors. These results suggest that lower lymphocyte Hsp27 levels might be associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. Our findings need to be validated in a large prospective study.

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