Centro Ricerche Oncologiche di Mercogliano (CROM) “Fiorentino Lo Vuolo”, Mercogliano (AV), Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori “Fondazione G. Pascale”, Napoli, Italy
The role played by the microenvironment in cancer induction, promotion and progression is crucial. Emerging evidence suggests that cytokines, chemokines and growth factors are major players in carcinogenesis. Therefore, a detailed understanding of factors and mechanisms associated with the processes leading from inflammation to cancer could improve the therapeutic strategies against this disease. We have used hepatocarcinoma as our model in this study. We evaluated the serum levels of 50 different cytokines, chemokines and growth factors in patients affected by HCC with chronic HCV-related hepatitis and liver cirrhosis using multiplex biometric ELISA-based immunoassay. Our data showed that some pro-inflammatory molecules were significantly up-regulated in these patients, and highlighted the complexity of the cytokine network in this disease. This work suggests the need to monitor these proteins in order to define a profile that could characterize patients with HCC or to help identify useful markers. This could lead to better definition of the disease state, and to an increased understanding of the relationships between chronic inflammation and cancer.