Background/aims: The aim of this study was to assess serum levels of Interleukin-2 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha with disease progression and correlate these levels with CEA and CA19-9 serum levels.
Methodology: Serum levels of interleukin-2 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha were measured in 23 patients with gastric cancer (being 9 stage I or II and 14 stage III or IV) and 10 patients without cancer by ELISA using Predicta Genzyme Diagnostica. The patients were followed for at least 2 years or until death. CEA and CA19-9 were also measured in both groups by ELISA (Abbott Diagnostic).
Results: Patients with gastric cancer stage III or IV had elevated levels of these cytokines (P = 0.002 for IL-2 and P = 0.003 for tumor necrosis factor-alpha). There was no difference between the serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-2 in patients with gastric cancer stage I or II and the control group (P > 0.05). We also found no difference among the groups for CEA and CA19-9 (P = 0.17 and 0.72, respectively). Only one gastric cancer patient stage I or II had elevated level of IL-2 and none had elevated levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha. In the group of patients with gastric cancer stage III or IV, 87.5% of them with elevated levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and 75% of them with elevated levels of interleukin-2 died during the follow-up.
Conclusions: We conclude that serum interleukin-2 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha are associated with advanced gastric cancer and that these cytokines might be a useful tumor marker for gastric cancer, being associated with poor prognosis.