Analysis of inflammatory markers and hormones in old cancer patients: A descriptive study

Sandra De Breucker, Sylvie Luce, Rose Njemini, Ivan Bautmans, Lore Decoster, Tony Mets, Thierry Pepersack

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Advanced cancers are associated with a chronic inflammation, especially high interleukin-6 (IL-6) and with various levels of adipokines (leptin and adiponectin), while ghrelin counteracts the anorexigenic effect of leptin in cancer-induced anorexia-cachexia syndrome. We aimed to understand how IL-6, adipokines and ghrelin plasma levels could be influenced by cancer on the one hand, and by age, frailty, and nutritional status in old cancer patients on the other hand. Ninety-nine patients aged 79[76–83] years old were included. Sixty-six percent had advanced stages of cancer, and 34% had cachexia. Fifty percent were at risk of malnutrition, and 10% had overt malnutrition. None of the variables studied was significantly correlated with the advanced stage, or cachexia. In multiple regression, the only parameter significantly and positively associated with age was adiponectin (p = 0.008). Despite a high prevalence of frailty in our study, we did not find any independent association of frailty (assessed by G8) with IL-6, leptin, adiponectin, or ghrelin in multivariate analysis. We observed that a low albumin level was independently associated with a higher level of IL-6 (p < 0.0001), but not with the MNA score. However, leptin showed a positive correlation with BMI (p < 0.0001), confirming the persistence of a relationship between leptin and adiposity, even in older cancer patients. Finally, high IL-6 level was associated with a higher mortality rate (p = 0.027). In conclusion, IL-6, leptin, adiponectin, and ghrelin are not associated with advanced stages of cancer or cancer-induced cachexia in older subjects with cancer, but they are significantly correlated with anthropometric factors and body composition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110787
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

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Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Analysis of inflammatory markers and hormones in old cancer patients
  • hormones
  • Older patients


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