Quantitative evaluation of oxidative stress, chronic inflammatory indices and leptin in cancer patients: correlation with stage and performance status

Int J Cancer. 2002 Mar 1;98(1):84-91. doi: 10.1002/ijc.10143.


In advanced cancer patients, the oxidative stress could take place either at the onset of disease or as a function of disease progression. To test this hypothesis, the following parameters were investigated: the erythrocyte activity of the enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx), the serum activity of glutathione reductase (GR) and the serum total antioxidant status (TAS). The total antioxidant capacity of plasma LMWA was evaluated by the cyclic voltammetry methodology. We further determined the serum levels of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-6 and TNFalpha), IL-2, leptin and C-reactive protein (CRP). All of these parameters have been correlated with the most important clinical indices of patients such as Stage of disease, ECOG PS and clinical response. Eighty-two advanced stage cancer patients and 36 healthy individuals used as controls were included in the study. Our findings show that SOD activity was significantly higher in cancer patients than in controls and GPx activity was significantly lower in cancer patients than in controls. Serum values of IL-6, TNFalpha and CRP were significantly higher in patients than in controls. Serum leptin values of cancer patients were significantly lower than controls. SOD activity increased significantly from Stage II/ECOG 0-1 to Stage IV/ECOG 0-1, whereas it decreased significantly in Stage IV/ECOG 3. GPx activity decreased significantly in Stage IV/ECOG 2-3. An inverse correlation between ECOG PS and serum leptin levels was found. Serum levels of IL-2 decreased from Stage II/ECOG 0-1 to Stage IV/ECOG 2-3. A direct correlation between Stage/ECOG PS and serum levels of both IL-6 and CRP was observed. Cisplatin administration induced a significant increase of GPx after 24 hr. In conclusion, this is the first study that shows that several "biological" parameters of cancer patients such as antioxidant enzyme activity, cytokines, leptin and CRP strictly correlate with the most important clinical parameters of disease such as Stage and ECOG PS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Cisplatin / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms / blood
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-6
  • Leptin
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Cisplatin