Concurrent Elevations of VEGF, Osteopontin and MCP-1 Serum Levels Are Independent Predictors of Survival in Patients with Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma

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Background: Diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL) are heterogeneous diseases, and the identification of additional DLBCL risk factors is especially important. Methods: In this pilot study, we determined pretreatment serum levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), osteopontin (OPN) and macrophage chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) in 67 newly diagnosed DLBCL patients before treatment with standard chemoimmunotherapy and in 30 healthy persons. Results: Serum levels of all three cytokines were significantly elevated in untreated patients compared to controls. VEGF and OPN concentrations were higher in patients with advanced Ann Arbor stage, B symptoms, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group score ≥2, International Prognostic Index (IPI) ≥3 and partial/no remission. A high MCP-1 level was associated with advanced stage, increased IPI and bone marrow infiltration. In univariate analysis, elevated OPN and VEGF, and concurrent elevation of all three biomarkers, were identified as significant predictors of poor survival. Multivariate Cox analysis revealed that elevated OPN combined with elevated VEGF levels was one of the best parameter subsets predicting poorest survival. Conclusion: According to our preliminary results, serum levels of VEGF and OPN before treatment predict response to therapy and survival after chemoimmunotherapy, and may help to further stratify DLBCL patients into risk groups.

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