Fluctuation of endogenous TNF alpha concentration in plasma in advanced cancer patients

M. Muc-Wierzgon a, A. Sterno a, J. Wierzgon b, B. Zubelewicz a, T. Kokot a, E. Nowakowska a

a 5th Department of Internal Diseases, Silesian Medical University, 7 Zeromskiego Str., 41-902 Bytom, Poland; b Department of Surgery, Centre of Oncology, M. Curie-Sklodowska Memorial Institute, Branch Gliwice, Poland

Aim: The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis of a dynamic fluctuation of circulating levels of endogenous tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) in serum of advanced cancer patients during 24 hours. Methods: The group examined consisted of 27 patients suffering from advanced colorectal cancer. Serum levels of TNF-&alpha were measured using ELISA type kits 6 times a day (8.00 a.m., 2.00 p.m., 6.00 p.m., 10.00 p.m., 2.00 a.m. and again 8.00 a.m.) as well as in healthy controls. Results: The levels of TNF-α in serum from healthy controls were close to detection limit of the method or were not detectable at all. Serum TNF-α levels in examined group were substantially increased and displayed statistically significant circadian fluctuations. The presence of circadian rhythm of the cytokine was proved (acrophase- 00.36 a.m.). Peak values appeared at 2 a.m. in contrast, the levels were low in the afternoon (2.00 p.m.). Conclusions: The present results may suggest the presence of complex self-regulation mechanisms in advanced colorectal cancer patients.

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Paper presented at the International Symposium on Predictive Oncology and Intervention Strategies; Paris, France; February 9 - 12, 2002; in the section on Molecular Pathology.