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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2004 Mar 1;58(3):758-67.

Increased IL-6 and TGF-beta1 concentrations in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid associated with thoracic radiotherapy.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Sart Tilman University Hospital, Liège, Belgium.



To assess, in lung cancer patients, the effects of thoracic radiotherapy (RT) on the concentrations of transforming growth factor-beta(1) (TGF-beta(1)) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid.


Eleven patients with lung cancer requiring RT as part of their treatment were studied. BAL was performed bilaterally before, during, and 1, 3, and 6 months after RT. Before each BAL session, the patient's status was assessed clinically using pulmonary function tests and an adapted late effects on normal tissue-subjective, objective, management, analytic (LENT-SOMA) scale, including subjective and objective alterations. The National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria were used to grade pneumonitis. The TGF-beta(1) and IL-6 levels in the BAL fluid were determined using the Easia kit.


The TGF-beta(1) and IL-6 concentrations in the BAL fluid recovered from the irradiated areas were significantly increased by thoracic RT. The increase in TGF-beta(1) levels tended to be greater in the group of patients who developed severe pneumonitis. In the BAL fluid from the nonirradiated areas, the TGF-beta(1) and IL-6 concentrations remained unchanged.


The observed increase in TGF-beta(1) and IL-6 concentrations in the BAL fluid recovered from the irradiated lung areas demonstrated that these cytokines may contribute to the process leading to a radiation response in human lung tissue.

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