The combined use of serum neurotensin and IL-8 as screening markers for colorectal cancer
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This pilot study aimed to determine the feasibility of serum neurotensin/IL-8 values being used as a screening tool for colorectal cancer. Fifty-six patients and 15 healthy controls were assigned to seven groups according to their disease entity based on theater records and histology report. Blood samples for neurotensin and IL-8 were measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. There were no differences in the clinical and biochemical parameters of patients and controls. Group (p = 0.003) and age (p = 0.059, marginally significant) were independent predictors of neurotensin plasma values. Neurotensin (p = 0.004) and IL-8 (p = 0.029) differed between healthy and colorectal cancer patients. Neurotensin values differentiate the control group from all remaining groups. The value of plasma neurotensin ≤54.47 pg/ml at enrollment selected by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves demonstrated a sensitivity of 77 %, specificity of 90 %, and an estimate of area under ROC curve (accuracy) of 85 % in predicting colorectal cancer. At enrollment, the value of plasma IL-8 ≥8.83 pg/ml had a sensitivity of 85 %, specificity 80 %, and an estimate of area under ROC curve (accuracy) of 81 % in predicting colorectal cancer. IL-8 should be used complementary to neurotensin due to its lower specificity. None of the colorectal cancer patients displayed a combination of high neurotensin and low IL-8 values (beyond cutoffs). It seems that a blood neurotensin/IL-8 system may be used as a screening tool for colorectal cancer, but much has to be done before it is validated in larger-scale prospective studies.
KeywordsIL-8 Neurotensin Colon cancer Rectal cancer Colorectal cancer screening Sensitivity and specificity
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