Clinical significance of circulating interleukin-23 as a prognostic factor in breast cancer patients

J Cell Biochem. 2012 Jun;113(6):2122-5. doi: 10.1002/jcb.24083.


Little is known about specific IL-23 alterations associated with breast cancer and the data available are still controversial. Therefore, the evaluation of changes in serum IL-23 levels may add further information on the role of this cytokine in breast cancer patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate prospectively the prognostic importance of circulating IL-23 in patients with untreated breast cancer, respect to healthy controls, and the association with clinico-pathological variables. The study involved 50 women diagnosed with stages I-IV breast cancer and 38 healthy controls. Of the 50 breast cancer patients, 37 women were recruited prior to their initial adjuvant chemotherapy and 13 prior to receive first line chemotherapy for metastatic disease. Adjuvant chemotherapy patients were at least in their 4th week post-surgery. IL-23 serum concentrations were measured by a quantitative enzyme immunoassay technique. We found a statistically significant higher systemic cytokine value in women with cancer in comparison with the control group (14.52±11.39 pg/ml vs. 6.35±4.63 pg/ml, P<0.0001). Patients with shorter overall survival presented higher IL-23 values, suggesting a negative prognostic correlation. There was no significant differences in IL-23 levels among patients according to the biomolecular characteristics, the different subtypes and the presence of metastatic disease. This work investigated, for the first time, the role of IL-23 in breast cancer patients showing a significant increase respect the control group. However, further validations are needed in larger studies to better investigate the implications of IL-23 increase in these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-23 / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis


  • Interleukin-23