Background: Autoantibodies against nervous system structures have been proven to be a prognostic factor in small cell lung cancer. However, little is known about humoral autoimmunity in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and its prognostic significance.
Methods: We examined antineural antibodies (AnAb) and antinuclear antibodies (ANA) in the sera of 61 patients with NSCLC (histologically: 29 adenocarcinoma, 32 squamous cell carcinoma). Twenty-one patients had stage I NSCLC, 11 stage II, and 29 patients stage III. Autoantibody detection was done by immunofluorescence test; Western blotting was used as a confirmation test.
Results: Of the NSCLC patients, 27.8% were antineural antibody positive, and 32.7% had ANA. No differences were found between the histological groups. AnAb-positive patients showed a better survival in all patients (p = 0.005). There was also a higher survival of ANA-positive patients, but this was only significant in stage III (p = 0.0025). Cox regression analysis showed that antineural and antinuclear antibodies are a stage-independent prognostic factor in NSCLC.
Conclusions: Antineural and antinuclear autoantibodies are a stage-independent prognostic factor in patients with NSCLC and may represent an effective immune response to the tumor.