Syndecan-1 (sCD138) levels in chronic lymphocytic leukemia: clinical and hematological correlations

Blood Res. 2018 Sep;53(3):205-209. doi: 10.5045/br.2018.53.3.205. Epub 2018 Sep 28.


Background: Syndecan-1 (sCD138) has recently been suggested to predict the clinical course of early-stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), but few studies have been reported. This study assessed the role of syndecan-1 in the prognosis of patients with CLL and its correlation with other prognostic markers.

Methods: This prospective study was performed in the hematology department of an Indian tertiary care center, over nineteen months (Jun. 2009-Jan. 2011). Forty-nine new patients with CLL presented during this period and were included. Twenty age- and gender-matched healthy patients served as controls, and six patients with multiple myeloma were included as positive controls. Baseline serum syndecan-1 concentrations were measured for all patients at presentation using ELISA (Diaclone, Besancon, France). At baseline, patients were divided into low (N=10), intermediate (N=18) and high (N=21) risk cohorts. Serum syndecan-1 levels in these patient subgroups were compared with clinical and laboratory parameters.

Results: The median syndecan-1 level in patients with CLL (73.32 ng/mL, range, 28.71-268.0 ng/mL) was marginally higher than that in healthy patients (63.10 ng/mL, range, 55.0-75.11 ng/mL). At presentation, syndecan-1 levels in patients with CLL correlated strongly with symptomatic disease (cytopenias, P=0.004) and higher clinical stage (Rai stage III and IV, P=0.001) markers and poorly with β2-microglobulin level (P=0.270), diffuse BM infiltration (P=0.882), and surrogate mutation status markers (CD 38, P=0.174 and ZAP-70, P=0.459). Syndecan-1 levels dichotomized by the median value were higher with progressive disease markers, e.g. shorter lymphocyte doubling time (LDT, P=0.015) and increased treatment (P=0.099).

Conclusion: In CLL, serum syndecan-1 (sCD138) levels at presentation correlate with disease burden, and higher baseline levels may predict early treatment.

Keywords: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia; Prognostic marker; Syndecan-1; sCD138.