Circulating Inflammation Markers and Pancreatic Cancer Risk: A Prospective Case-Cohort Study in Japan

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2022 Jan;31(1):236-241. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-21-0808. Epub 2021 Oct 25.


Background: Previous prospective studies of associations between circulating inflammation-related molecules and pancreatic cancer risk have included limited numbers of markers.

Methods: We conducted a case-cohort study nested within the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study Cohort II. We selected a random subcohort (n = 774) from a total of 23,335 participants aged 40 to 69 years who returned a questionnaire and provided blood samples at baseline. During the follow-up period from 1993 to 2010, we identified 111 newly diagnosed pancreatic cancer cases, including one case within the subcohort. Plasma concentrations of 62 inflammatory markers of chemokines, cytokines, and growth factors were measured by a Luminex fluorescent bead-based assay. Cox regression models were applied to estimate HR and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for pancreatic cancer risk for quartiles of marker levels adjusted for potential confounders.

Results: The HR (95% CI) for the highest versus the lowest category of C-C motif ligand chemokine 8/monocyte chemoattractant protein 2 (CCL8/MCP2) was 2.03 (1.05-3.93; P trend = 0.048). After we corrected for multiple comparisons, none of the examined biomarkers were associated with pancreatic cancer risk at P-value <0.05.

Conclusions: We found no significant associations between 62 inflammatory markers and pancreatic cancer risk.

Impact: The suggestive association with circulating levels of leukocyte recruiting cytokine CCL8/MCP2 may warrant further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Chemokines / blood
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood*
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / blood
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / blood*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins