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Neth J Med. 2009 May;67(5):191-4.

Granulocytosis and thrombocytosis in renal cell carcinoma: a pro-inflammatory cytokine response originating in the tumour.

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Laboratory for Clinical Chemistry and Haematology, Bronovo Hospital, the Hague, the Netherlands.



In up to 20% of patients with renal cell cancer (RCC) an inflammatory response consisting of low-grade fever, weight loss and an elevated ESR and CRP may occur with modest granulocytosis and thrombocytosis. Clinical and experimental data suggest a pathogenic role for tumour-derived cytokine production, especially interleukin-6.


A 79-year-old female with RCC presented with low-grade fever, weight loss and overt granulocytosis and thrombocytosis. Radiological examination revealed a right-sided renal tumour. During nephrectomy a gradient between the IL-6 levels in the renal artery and vein was demonstrated, providing direct evidence for in vivo production of IL-6 by the tumour affected kidney, which was confirmed by the demonstration of IL -6 in the tumour cells by immunohistochemical staining and in the supernatant of the homogenised tumour. Cytogenetic examination revealed complex abnormalities including a gain of chromosome 7. In addition we demonstrated production of IL-1alpha, IL-1beta, IL-8 and ICAM-1 in the tumour with systemic elevated levels of IL-6 and IL-8 with secondary increased serum G-CSF and TPO levels.


We have provided direct evidence for the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines by renal cancer cells in a patient with RCC and a profound inflammatory response, with a central role of IL-6, probably due to a gain of chromosome 7. The extreme granulocytosis and thrombocytosis may have resulted from the secondary systemic production of G-CSF and TPO.

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