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Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Oct 1;12(19):5698-704.

YKL-40 and matrix metalloproteinase-9 as potential serum biomarkers for patients with high-grade gliomas.

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Clinical Laboratories, Neurosurgical Service, Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.



Biomarkers can facilitate diagnosis, monitor treatment response, and assess prognosis in some patients with cancer. YKL-40 and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) are two proteins highly differentially expressed by malignant gliomas. We obtained prospective longitudinal serum samples from patients with gliomas to determine whether YKL-40 or MMP-9 could be used as serum markers.


Serum samples were obtained concurrently with magnetic resonance imaging scans. YKL-40 and MMP-9 were determined by ELISA and the values correlated with the patient's radiographic status and survival.


High-grade glioma patients who underwent a surgical resection of their tumor had transient increase of both YKL-40 and MMP-9 serum levels in the postoperative period. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) patients with no radiographic evidence of disease (n = 10 patients, 50 samples) had a significantly lower level of YKL-40 and MMP-9 than patients with active tumor (n = 66 patients, 209 samples; P = 0.0003 and 0.0002, respectively). Anaplastic glioma patients with no radiographic evidence of disease (n = 32 patients, 107 samples) also had a significantly lower level of YKL-40 compared with those patients with active tumor (n = 48 patients, 199 samples; P = 0.04). There was a significant inverse association between YKL-40 and survival in GBM, hazard ratio (hazard ratio, 1.4; P = 0.02), and anaplastic astrocytoma patients (hazard ratio, 2.2; P = 0.05).


YKL-40 and MMP-9 can be monitored in patients' serum and help confirm the absence of active disease in GBM and YKL-40 in anaplastic glioma patients. YKL-40 can be used as predictor of survival in patients with high-grade glioma. Longitudinal studies with a larger patient population are needed to confirm these findings.

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