Objective: Hepcidin-25 production is stimulated by systemic inflammation, and it interferes with iron utilization, leading to anemia. This study aimed to investigate the relationships between the plasma levels of hepcidin, interleukin-6 (IL-6), erythropoietin (EPO) and erythroferrone (ERFE) in patients with benign breast disease or cancer.
Methods: Plasma samples from a cohort of 131 patients (47 with benign breast disease and 84 with breast cancer) were subjected to the evaluation of hepcidin, IL-6, EPO and ERFE using SELDI-TOF-MS or immunoassays.
Results: An elevated hepcidin was observed in malignant breast tumors compared to benign ones. No correlation was observed between hepcidin and IL-6, EPO or ERFE.
Conclusion: Since the study included a cohort of patients (87%) with breast cancers smaller than 2 cm, these results may support our previous evidence about the potential role of hepcidin in breast cancer disease.
Keywords: BMP6; IL-6; benign breast disease; breast cancer; early diagnosis; erytroferrone; erytropoiesis; erytropoietin; hepcidin; inflammation; iron metabolism.