Hematopoietic cytokines as tumor markers


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Abstract

Stem cell factor (SCF), interleukin 3 (IL-3), granulocyte-macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) and macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF) are members of a group of glycoproteins called hematopoietic cytokines (HCs). These cytokines regulate the growth and differentiation of hematopoietic progenitor cells and functionally activate mature neutrophils or macrophages. The effect of HCs is not limited to bone marrow cells. Some studies have shown that HCs can also stimulate the proliferation of non-hematopoietic cells. The receptors for HCs have been detected in cancer cell lines, and stimulation of HCs receptors induced proliferation of tumor cells. Moreover, some investigations have shown HC mRNA expression in these cell lines and recent studies have demonstrated that HCs can stimulate tumor progression. Several cells of malignant tumors have been observed to secrete large amounts of HCs and increased concentrations of HCs have been found in the sera of cancer patients. There are a number of situations in which the measurement of HCs may provide clinically useful information, particularly regarding prognosis and response to treatment. In this paper we discuss the results of studies that have examined the potential use of HCs as tumor markers.

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