Low blood levels of sTWEAK are related to locoregional failure in head and neck cancer
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Identifying serum pre-treatment molecular markers that can predict response to therapy is of great interest in head and neck oncology and is required to develop personalized treatments that maximize survival while minimizing morbidity. The main aim was to investigate the potential prognostic significance of tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK), and its receptors, fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (Fn14) and CD163, in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). The study comprised 37 consecutive patients with pathologically confirmed, untreated HNSCC. Serum and tissue samples from these patients were available for study. We determined sTWEAK and sCD163 levels in serum from 37 HNSCC patients by ELISA. TWEAK, CD163, Fn14 and TNF-α gene expression were detected by real-time RT-PCR in 111 matched tissue samples (tumoral, adjacent and distal/normal mucosa). Our results showed a significant relationship between low sTWEAK levels and poor locoregional control of the disease. Kaplan–Meier curves indicated that the locoregional recurrence-free survival rate in patients with low sTWEAK circulating levels was significantly lower than in patients with high levels, and that high CD136/TWEAK expression ratio in tumors was also related to poor prognosis. sTWEAK pre-treatment serum levels might be used as prognostic non-invasive biomarkers for locoregional control in patients with HNSCC. Future investigations are warranted to determine the potential prognostic significance of this non-invasive biomarker in the rapid discrimination according to the locoregional control achieved in patients who received a non-surgical organ preservation treatment.
KeywordssTWEAK Non-invasive biomarker Locoregional control Treatment Prognosis
This study was supported by the Institut d’Investigació Sanitària Pere Virgili, Tarragona, Catalonia (IISPV) and by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad, Spain (Grant Numbers PI11/00049 to MRCH, PI11/00085 to JV and PI11/02380 to XL). MRCH is supported by the Research Stabilization Programme of the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII) co-financed by Institut Català de Salut (ICS) in Catalonia, Spain. We express our gratitude to Meritxell Cortés and Jessica Capera for their assistance in sample collection.
Conflict of interest
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