High serum YKL-40 level in patients with small cell lung cancer is related to early death

Lung Cancer. 2004 Dec;46(3):333-40. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2004.05.010.


YKL-40, a growth factor for connective tissue cells, is secreted by cancer cells and macrophages. Elevated serum YKL-40 in patients with metastatic carcinoma has been associated with poor prognosis. We evaluated serum YKL-40 in 131 patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Twenty-two percent of the patients with limited disease and 40% of the patients with extensive disease had elevated serum YKL-40. The median survival was 5.1 months for patients with elevated serum YKL-40 and 9.0 months for patients with normal serum YKL-40. Patients with elevated serum YKL-40 had increased hazard for death within the first 6 months after the start of chemotherapy compared to patients with normal serum YKL-40 (HR = 2.06, P = 0.009). Multivariate Cox analysis including routine prognostic variables showed that serum YKL-40 (P = 0.02) is independent of prognostic variables for survival within the first 6 months. Studies are needed to determine the function of YKL-40 in SCLC.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Autoantigens
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / pathology*
  • Chitinase-3-Like Protein 1
  • Female
  • Glycoproteins / blood*
  • Humans
  • Lectins
  • Life Expectancy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adipokines
  • Autoantigens
  • CHI3L1 protein, human
  • Chitinase-3-Like Protein 1
  • Glycoproteins
  • Lectins