Phenotypes and serum level of alpha-1-antitrypsin in lung cancer

J BUON. 2011 Oct-Dec;16(4):672-6.


Purpose: Alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) as the major circulating inhibitor of proteases has important role in protease-antiprotease homeostasis. Recent studies have confirmed its antiapoptotic role. AAT is a highly polymorphic protein. Individuals with normal variants have normal serum levels and functional activity of ATT. However, individuals with hereditary AAT deficiency (AATD) have low circulating levels of AAT. Severe AATD was identified as genetic risk factor for early onset of pulmonary emphysema. Association between AAT phenotypes and lung cancer (LC) is not clear, and different studies show contradictory results. The aim of this case-control study was to investigate phenotypes and serum level of AAT in LC.

Methods: The study group included 147 patients with LC, classified as small cell lung cancer (SCLC, n=42) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC, n=105). The control group consisted of 273 healthy blood donors. AAT phenotyping was performed by isoelectric-focusing and AAT concentration was measured using nephelometry.

Results: There were no differences in the frequencies of AAT phenotypes and alleles between the control group and LC patients, as well as between NSCLC and SCLC groups. An elevated level of AAT was obtained in LC patients. PiMZ and PiMS phenotypes in LC patients were not deficient in the classical sense. AAT levels were 90 and 134%, respectively, when compared to PiMM phenotype in the control group.

Conclusion: Our findings revealed that moderate deficiency of AAT is not risk factor for LC development. Although polymorphism of AAT was not associated with risk of LC, further research of this antiprotease and antiapoptotic protein could clarify its role in carcinogenesis, given its high concentration in LC patients, even in AATD patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / blood*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / blood*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Small Cell Lung Carcinoma / blood*
  • Small Cell Lung Carcinoma / genetics
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin / blood*
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin / genetics*
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency / blood*
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency / genetics


  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin