DOI: 10.3390/ijms241713432 ISSN:

Studies on the Role of Compartmentalized Profiles of Cytokines in the Risk of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Silvano Fasolato, Paola Del Bianco, Sandro Malacrida, Adriana Mattiolo, Enrico Gringeri, Paolo Angeli, Patrizia Pontisso, Maria Luisa Calabrò
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • Catalysis

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of liver cancer, is frequently diagnosed late due to the absence of symptoms during early disease, thus heavily affecting the overall survival of these patients. Soluble immunological factors persistently produced during cirrhosis have been recognized as promoters of chronic inflammation and neoplastic transformation. The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate the predictive value of the cytokine profiles for HCC development. A Luminex xMAP approach was used for the quantification of 45 proteins in plasma and ascitic fluids of 44 cirrhotic patients without or with HCC of different etiologies. The association with patient survival was also evaluated. Univariate analyses revealed that very low levels of interleukin 5 (IL-5) (<15.86 pg/mL) in ascites and IL-15 (<12.40 pg/mL) in plasma were able to predict HCC onset with an accuracy of 81.8% and a sensitivity of 95.2%. Univariate analyses also showed that HCC, hepatitis B virus/hepatitis C virus infections, low levels of IL-5 and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor in ascitic fluids, and high levels of eotaxin-1, hepatocyte growth factor and stromal-cell-derived factor 1α in plasma samples were factors potentially associated with a poor prognosis and decreased survival. Our results suggest a potential protective role of some immune modulators that may act in the peritoneal cavity to counteract disease progression leading to HCC development.

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