Serum cytokines and CXCR2: potential tumour markers in ovarian neoplasms

Biomarkers. 2020 Sep;25(6):474-482. doi: 10.1080/1354750X.2020.1783574. Epub 2020 Jun 28.


Purpose: The aim was to investigate the systemic levels of cytokines and the expression of the chemokine receptor CXCR2 in circulating neutrophils in patients with non-neoplastic ovarian lesions, benign neoplasia or malignant neoplasia.

Materials and methods: Controls and patients with ovarian tumours were pre-operatively compared for the production of cytokines (IL-2, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10 and TNF-α) by ELISA, and for the expression of the chemokine receptor, CXCR2, in neutrophils, by flow cytometry. Randomly selected patients within the malignant group were re-evaluated for the inflammatory parameters at 30 days after surgery.

Results: The serum concentrations of IL-6, IL-8 and IL-10 were significantly higher in the benign and malignant neoplasia than in the control group, and their levels were significantly higher in ovarian cancer patients than in patients with non-neoplastic tumours or benign neoplasia. Treatment reduced IL-8 serum levels but did not affect CXCR2 expression in neutrophils. Cut-off values for IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 comparing malignant vs. benign neoplasia were 11.3, 71.7, 14.8, and comparing malignant neoplasm vs. non-neoplastic lesions were 7.2, 43.5, 12.3, respectively.

Conclusions: Serum IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 levels, and expression of CXCR2 in circulating neutrophils seem promising for distinguishing ovarian cancer patients from patients with benign tumours.

Keywords: CXCR2 receptor; Ovarian tumours; cytokines; treatment; tumour markers.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / blood
  • Interleukin-2 / blood
  • Interleukin-5 / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Interleukin-8 / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / blood
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / blood*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Receptors, Interleukin-8B / blood*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-5
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-8
  • Receptors, Interleukin-8B
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-10