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Oncotarget. 2015 Sep 22;6(28):26472-82. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.4500.

Evaluating blood levels of neuron specific enolase, chromogranin A, and circulating tumor cells as Merkel cell carcinoma biomarkers.

Author information

1
Department of Dermatology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.
2
Dermatology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
3
Department of Internal Medicine I and Clinical Chemistry, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare, aggressive neuroendocrine skin cancer. Although used to monitor MCC patients, the clinical utility of neuron-specific enolase (NSE) and chromogranin A (ChrA) blood levels is untested. EpCAM-positive circulating tumor cells (CTC) reflect disease status in several epithelial tumors. Here we investigate the use of NSE and ChrA blood levels and CTC counts as biomarkers for MCC disease behavior.

METHODS:

NSE and ChrA blood levels from 60 patients with MCC were retrospectively analyzed; 30 patients were additionally screened for CTC. Biomarker values were correlated to clinical parameters.

RESULTS:

Despite routine use by some physicians, NSE and ChrA blood levels did not correlate with progression free survival, disease specific survival, or MCC recurrence. We found CTC in 97% of tested MCC patients. CTC counts were elevated in patients with active disease, suggesting their potential use in monitoring MCC.

CONCLUSIONS:

NSE and ChrA levels were not effective in predicting outcomes or detecting recurrences of MCC. In contrast, CTC counts have potential utility as a biomarker for MCC disease behavior.

KEYWORDS:

EpCAM; Merkel cell carcinoma; chromogranin A; circulating tumor cells; neuron specific enolase

PMID:
26299616
PMCID:
PMC4694915
DOI:
10.18632/oncotarget.4500
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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