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Oncol Rep. 2013 Oct;30(4):1575-80. doi: 10.3892/or.2013.2666. Epub 2013 Aug 8.

Plasma osteopontin concentrations in patients with cutaneous melanoma.

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  • 1Section of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, St. James's University Hospital, Leeds LS9 7TF, UK.


An effective circulating tumour marker is needed for melanoma especially with the advent of targeted therapies. Gene expression studies examining primary melanomas have shown that increased expression of osteopontin (SPP1) is associated with poor prognosis. Studies subsequently reported higher blood levels in melanoma patients with metastatic disease than those without. This study was designed to determine whether osteopontin plasma concentrations in disease-free patients after initial treatment predict survival. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to measure osteopontin levels in stored plasma samples (N=215) from participants in the Leeds Melanoma Cohort. AJCC stage at sampling was statistically significant associated with osteopontin levels (p=0.03). Participants with untreated stage IV disease at sampling (n=10) had higher median osteopontin levels compared to those with treated stage I-III disease (n=158) (p<0.001) confirming previous findings. There was a trend for increased risk of death with increasing osteopontin levels but this was not statistically significant. If a level of 103.14 ng/ml (95th centile of healthy controls) was taken as the upper end of the normal range then 2.5% of patients with treated stage I-III (4/110), 17.6% of patients with untreated stage III (3/17) and 30% of patients with untreated stage IV disease (3/10) had higher levels. These findings suggest that plasma osteopontin levels warrant investigation as a tumour marker in a larger study in which the significance of change in levels over time should be studied in relation to detectable disease recurrence.

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