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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Marked elevation of serum interleukin-6 in patients with cholangiocarcinoma: validation of utility as a clinical marker.

OBJECTIVE: To determine if the serum level of interleukin-6 (IL-6) was elevated in patients with hepatic malignancies or correlated with radiologic tumor burden. SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: High serum levels of IL-6 signify an adverse prognosis in many patients with cancer. IL-6 is a growth factor for bile duct epithelium. METHODS: Using bioactive and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, serum level of IL-6 was measured in 35 healthy adults and in 60 patients presenting for definitive management of cholangiocarcinoma (CC) (15 patients), hepatocellular carcinoma ( HCC) (14), metastatic colorectal cancer (MCRC) (26), and benign biliary disease (BBD) (5). Patients with clinical conditions known to raise the serum level of IL-6 were excluded. Tumor burden was calculated from concurrent computed tomography scans. IL-6 levels were measured 2 weeks after resection in 3 CC patients. Secretion of IL-6 was examined in 3 human CC cell lines. RESULTS: An elevated level of bioactive IL-6 was detected in every patient with CC and in 13 of 14 patients with HCC, 14 of 26 patients with MCRC, 2 of 5 patients with BBD, and 3 of 35 healthy adults. Median and mean levels of bioactive IL-6 were higher in CC than in other neoplasms (p < 0.026) and for all tumor groups differed from healthy adults (p < or = 0.026). IL-6 level was elevated more often in primary than in secondary liver neoplasms (p = 0.02), distinguished patients with CC or MCRC from BBD (p = 0.014 and 0.031, respectively), correlated with tumor burden in CC (p < 0.001), and dropped sharply after CC resection. CC line SG231 secreted bioactive IL-6. CONCLUSIONS: In selected patients, a high serum level of IL-6 marks patients with CC and correlates with tumor burden both before and after resection. IL-6 levels are elevated in patients with other liver neoplasms and may distinguish patients with hepatic malignancies from those with benign disease.[1]


  1. Marked elevation of serum interleukin-6 in patients with cholangiocarcinoma: validation of utility as a clinical marker. Goydos, J.S., Brumfield, A.M., Frezza, E., Booth, A., Lotze, M.T., Carty, S.E. Ann. Surg. (1998) [Pubmed]
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