Background: Interleukin-18 (IL-18), a cytokine that plays an important role in the T-cell-helper response, acts as an angiogenic factor and a tumor suppressor. RANTES (regulated upon activation normal T-cells expressed and secreted) is a member of the C-C chemokine family with chemoattractant activity for a variety of cell types. High incidence and intensity of RANTES were noted in advanced breast carcinoma.
Aim of the study: To correlate the levels of RANTES and IL-18 in serum of breast cancer patients with bone or other organ metastasis compared to breast cancer patients without metastasis and healthy controls and to estimate the role of each of them as a prognostic marker for the progression of the disease.
Patients and methods: The study was conducted on 60 breast cancer patients (25 cases with no metastasis and 35 cases with metastasis) who were admitted to the outpatient clinic of the NCI, Cairo University during the period from March 2004 to September 2004 and 30 apparently healthy controls who were volunteers at the blood bank of the NCI, Cairo University.
Results: Showed that there was a statistically significant difference between the level of IL-18 in breast cancer patients without metastasis and the control group (p<0.05) while there was a highly significant difference between the metastatic group and the control group (p<0.001). There was a significant increase in IL-18 levels between metastatic and non-metastatic cases (p<0.01). RANTES showed a significant increase in breast cancer cases with no metastasis and the control group (p<0.05) and it showed a highly significant increase in metastatic patients compared to controls (p<0.001). There was no significant increase in the level of RANTES in metastatic compared to non-metastatic patients (p>0.05).
Conclusions: IL-18 is an important non invasive marker suspecting metastasis. Even though RANTES levels were higher in cancer patients compared to controls, its role in staging of breast cancer was not clear in this study.