Cytokine levels (IL-6 and IFN-gamma), acute phase response and nutritional status as prognostic factors in lung cancer

Cytokine. 1999 Jan;11(1):80-6. doi: 10.1006/cyto.1998.0398.


Raised serum levels of interleukin 6 (IL-6) have been described in cancer patients. This cytokine mediates the acute phase response and has been also involved in the pathogenesis of cancer cachexia. The objectives of the present study were: (1) to determine the relationships of IL-6 and other cytokines with neoplasia extension, acute phase response and nutritional status, in lung cancer patients; and (2) to establish the prognostic value of serum cytokine levels. A prospective study in which IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) have been determined in 66 newly diagnosed lung cancer patients. Nutritional status was assessed objectively. Serum levels of growth hormone (GH), insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and acute phase reactants as C Reactive Protein, alpha1 antitrypsin and ferritine, were determined. Increased IL-6 levels were related to extensive disease, impaired performance status, enhanced acute phase response and malnutrition. Raised serum IL-6 levels, extensive disease, low Karnofsky index, malnutrition, acute phase response and low IFN-gamma were all related to a shorter survival. When assessed by a multivariate analysis, IL-6 kept its independent prognostic value together with age, disease extension, and decreased IFN-gamma serum levels.IL-6 is increased in lung cancer patients, enhances the acute phase response in them, and is correlated with poor nutritional status, impaired performance status and shorter survival.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Reaction*
  • Aged
  • Body Weight
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / blood*
  • Interleukin-1 / blood
  • Interleukin-2 / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Prognosis
  • Survival
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis


  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interferon-gamma