Circulating and Tissue Expression Levels of YKL-40 in Renal Cell Cancer

J Urol. 2016 Apr;195(4 Pt 1):1120-5. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2015.09.084. Epub 2015 Oct 8.


Purpose: Blood levels of YKL-40 are elevated in various malignancies and other inflammatory diseases. Higher YKL-40 levels have consequently been shown to correlate with poor prognosis in several cancers. We investigated the prognostic value of circulating and tissue levels of YKL-40 in renal cell cancer.

Materials and methods: Preoperative YKL-40 serum/plasma levels were determined in 222 surgically treated patients with renal cell cancer and in 35 controls. Postoperative serum samples were analyzed in 19 of the 222 renal cell cancer cases. Gene expression levels were assessed in 101 renal cell cancer frozen tissue samples using quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Finally immunohistochemical analysis was done in 37 renal cell cancer cases to assess tissue localization of YKL-40. Results were correlated with clinicopathological and followup data.

Results: YKL-40 serum but not tissue gene expression levels were higher in patients with renal cell cancer compared to controls (p = 0.050). Serum YKL-40 levels significantly increased following nephrectomy (p <0.001). High circulating YKL-40 concentrations were independently associated with shorter survival in the serum and plasma cohorts. YKL-40 gene expression did not correlate with patient prognosis.

Conclusions: Preoperatively elevated circulating levels of YKL-40 predict survival in patients treated with nephrectomy for renal cell cancer independently of levels determined in serum or plasma. Tumor cells do not seem to be the main source of increased serum/plasma YKL-40 levels in patients with renal cell cancer.

Keywords: CHI3L1 protein, human; carcinoma, renal cell; kidney; nephrectomy; prognosis.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / blood*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / chemistry
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / surgery
  • Chitinase-3-Like Protein 1 / analysis
  • Chitinase-3-Like Protein 1 / biosynthesis*
  • Chitinase-3-Like Protein 1 / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / blood*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Kidney Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / mortality
  • Kidney Neoplasms / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrectomy
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate


  • Chitinase-3-Like Protein 1