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Transl Oncol. 2013 Jun 1;6(3):311-8. Print 2013 Jun.

High Serum Levels of the Interleukin-33 Receptor Soluble ST2 as a Negative Prognostic Factor in Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

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1
Department of Internal Medicine 1, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Hospital, Frankfurt am Main, Germany ; Pharmazentrum Frankfurt, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Hospital, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common primary malignant liver tumor, usually arises in the setting of liver cirrhosis (LC), and has a poor prognosis. The recently discovered Th2-cytokine interleukin-33 (IL-33) is a possible mediator in pancreatic and gastric carcinogeneses. IL-33 binds to its receptor and to soluble ST2 (sST2), which thereby acts as a regulator. The role of IL-33 and sST2 in HCC has not been elucidated yet.

METHODS:

We conducted a case-control study with 130 patients and 50 healthy controls (HCs). Sixty-five patients suffered from HCC and 65 patients had LC without HCC. We assessed serum IL-33 and sST2 levels and their association with established prognostic scores, liver function parameters, and overall survival (OS).

RESULTS:

No significant difference in IL-33 serum levels was found in HCC compared to LC and HCs. IL-33 levels did not correlate with OS, liver function parameters, the Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score, or the Cancer of the Liver Italian Program (CLIP) score. sST2 levels were significantly elevated in LC and HCC patients compared to HCs (P < .0001). Mean sST2 levels in LC were higher than in HCC (P < .0001), but a significant association with OS was only observed in the HCC group (P = .003). sST2 in HCC correlated with the CLIP score, the MELD score, and liver function parameters.

CONCLUSION:

In the present study, the serum concentration of sST2 was associated with OS of HCC. Therefore, sST2 may be considered as a new prognostic marker in HCC and is worth further evaluation.

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