Serum levels of the IL-6 family of cytokines predict prognosis in renal cell carcinoma (RCC)
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionCancer Immunology and Immunotherapy. 2021, 70, 19–30 10.1007/s00262-020-02655-z
Purpose An improved understanding of RCC immunology should shed further light on RCC tumor biology. Our objective was to study to what extent serum levels of the IL-6 family of cytokines at diagnosis were relevant to survival. Methods A total of 118 consecutively patients with RCC, in which the tumor was surgically removed at Haukeland University Hospital during the period from 2007 to 2010, were included. The patients were followed-up for 10 years. The morning before surgery blood was sampled and serum frozen, with levels of IL-6, IL-27, IL-31, OSM, CNTF, IL-6Rα and gp130 determined. Results Among patients with the highest quartile of IL-6 (> 8 pg/ml) (n = 29), six of nine who had metastasis at diagnosis had such high IL-6 values. Among presumed radically treated patients, a high IL-6 and IL-27 strongly predicted recurrence. In particular, the predictions among patients with large (diameter > 7 cm) tumors were excellent regarding both IL-6 and IL-27 values. High gp130 serum levels predicted an overall survival (OS) among RCC patients with large tumors. Patients with a high IL-6 exhibited a strong expression of IL-6 in endothelial- and vascular smooth muscle cells. Moreover, the level of intra-tumoral CD3-positive cells predicted survival. Conclusions IL-6 and IL-27 seem to play a role in RCC biology. IL-6 enables the pinpointing of metastatic condition at diagnosis, as well as together with IL-27, the predicting of survival and recurrence. Endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells are both suggested as important sources of IL-6.