Plasma hepcidin in early-stage breast cancer patients: no relationship with interleukin-6, erythropoietin and erythroferrone

Expert Rev Proteomics. 2015;12(6):695-701. doi: 10.1586/14789450.2015.1099436. Epub 2015 Oct 23.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / blood*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Erythropoietin / blood*
  • Female
  • Hepcidins / blood*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptide Hormones / blood*


  • Erfe protein, human
  • Hepcidins
  • Interleukin-6
  • Peptide Hormones
  • Erythropoietin