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Circulating Biomarkers in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer and the Influence of Cigarette Smoking
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Surgery, Orthopedics and Oncology. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Department of Laboratory Medicine, Region Jönköping County.
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Head and neck cancer (HNC) is a collective name for heterogeneous tumors located in the head and neck regions for which smoking, alcohol and human papillomavirus (HPV) are documented risk factors. The survival of HNC patients has only improved marginally during the last decade. The most important prognostic factors are tumor size, local spread and distant metastases, tumor node metastasis (TNM) staging. Prognostic biomarkers are needed as a complement to TNM staging.

The aim for this thesis was to investigate rapid and low cost blood based biomarkers which could indicate the risk of HNC, recurrence of the disease or the survival of HNC patients. Furthermore, the aim was to examine how cigarette smoking influences the levels of biomarkers.

In paper I, a possible role of plasma cytokines or proteins associated with immune response or inflammation, as biomarkers for the survival of HNC patients was investigated. Higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) were detected in plasma of the patients compared with the levels in the controls. The elevated levels of these two biomarkers detected in patients were associated with decreased survival.

In paper II, the influence of 45 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located in 41 genes associated with cell cycle progression, cell death, DNA repair or immune response on cancer risk, tumor recurrence and survival in HNC patients were investigated. SNPs in immune response genes were associated with risk for HNC, an elevated risk for recurrence and a decreased survival in HNC patients.

In paper III, the influence of cigarette smoking on levels of inflammatory cells, proteins or cytokines/chemokines, microRNAs (miRNAs) and SNPs was analysed in healthy smokers and non-smokers. Higher levels of total white blood cells (WBCs), neutrophils, monocytes, lymphocytes, neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR), CRP, monocyte chemoattractant protein- 1 (MCP-1) and interferon gamma (IFN-γ) were detected in smokers compared to non-smokers and indicate an inflammatory response. Also, a lower level of oncomiRNA miR-21was detected in smokers. This alteration, in combination with the elevated levels of IFN-γ in smokers could be a protective response to cigarette smoke. The higher levels of IFN-γ in smokers compared to non-smokers were however only detected in individuals with SNP rs2069705 genotype AG/GG. This indicates a genetic association of the levels of IFN-γ.

In paper IV, the separate effects of cigarette smoking and HNC on inflammatory or immune biomarkers and the impact of high risk human papillomavirus, age and gender were investigated. Comparisons of circulating levels of WBCs and its subpopulations, plasma proteins or cytokines/chemokines between smoking and non-smoking patients, smoking and non-smoking controls and between the patient and control groups were analysed. Smoking had highest impact on elevated levels of WBCs, IFN-γ and MCP-1, and HNC had highest impact on elevated levels of neutrophils, monocytes, NLR, CRP, macrophage inflammatory protein 1 beta and TNF-α.

In conclusion, host immune response associated parameters could be suitable as biomarkers for the risk of HNC, risk of recurrence or in predicting survival of HNC patients. This thesis show that HNC are associated with systemic inflammatory response and upregulated CRP and TNF-α is related to shorter survival in HNC patients. Additionally, SNPs in immune response genes such as rs1800629 in the TNF-α gene indicates a risk for HNC or an elevated risk for recurrence and a decreased survival in HNC patients. These rapid and low cost blood based biomarkers could be used in combination or as a supplement to established biomarkers in the clinic for a more personalized treatment modality.

Abstract [sv]

Huvud- och halscancer (HH-cancer) innefattar tumörer belägna i huvud och halsområdet. Tobaksrökning ökar risken dramatiskt för olika sjukdomar. Knappt hälften av rökande patienter dör i de av rökning orsakade sjukdomarna. Cancer är orsaken till en tredjedel av de rökrelaterade dödsfallen av vilka HH-cancer är en. En andel av patienterna med HH-cancer dör på grund av att tumören varit för stor redan vid diagnos eller att tumören har spridit sig till övriga delar av kroppen. Men för många patienter är det mycket oklart vad som bestämmer behandlingsresultatet. Tumörerna är till synes lika och behandlingen standardiserad.

Målet med denna doktorsavhandling var att undersöka billiga och lättillgängliga biologiska markörer som kan indikera risk för att drabbas av HH-cancer eller om dessa markörer kan förutspå behandlingsresultat och överlevnad hos de drabbade patienterna. Dessutom undersöktes hur cigarettrökning påverkade nivåerna av markörerna.

I studie I, undersöktes om molekyler i blodet (biomarkörer), förknippade med immunförsvaret, kunde förutsäga överlevnaden hos HH-cancerpatienter. I jämförelse med friska individer sågs högre nivåer av molekylerna TNF-α och CRP hos patienterna och dessa förhöjningar var relaterade till förkortad överlevnad hos patienterna.

I studie II, var målet att undersöka om variationer i gener, förknippade med immunförsvaret, celldelning, celldöd eller enzymer som reparerar skadat DNA, kunde påverka risk och prognos för HH-cancer. Resultatet visade framför allt att små ärftliga variationer i gener som reglerar immunförsvaret kunde påverkade risk för HH-cancer, risk för återfall i sjukdomen samt överlevnaden hos patienterna.

I studie III, jämfördes inflammatoriska och immunförknippade biomarkörer som kunde påverkas av cigarettrökning mellan friska rökare och friska icke-rökare. Rökarna hade en högre inflammatorisk aktivitet med högre nivåer av totalt antal vita blodkroppar och tre av dess olika undergrupper (neutrofiler, monocyter och lymfocyter) samt av biomarköerna CRP, MCP-1 och IFN-γ. De funna lägre nivåerna av den cancerförknippade biomarkören miR-21 och högre nivåer av den förmodat skyddande biomarkören IFN-γ hos rökarna, kan vara ett uttryck för kroppens försvar mot den cancerframkallade cigarettröken. Ärftliga faktorer tycks kunna påverka de högre nivåerna av IFN-γ hos rökarna, eftersom ökningen endast fanns i en grupp individer med viss typ av genetisk uppsättning.

Eftersom både rökning och HH-cancer ger upphov till inflammation, undersöktes i studie IV hur dessa var för sig påverkade nivåerna av inflammatoriska biomarkörer. Detta för en bättre förståelse hur immunförsvaret reagerar på rökning och HH-cancer. Jämförelser av inflammatoriska markörer från rökande och icke-rökande patienter, och rökande och ickerökande friska individer genomfördes. Rökning hade störst påverkan på de högre nivåerna av totalt antal vita blodkroppar och signalmolekylerna MCP-1 och IFN-γ. HH-cancer hade störst påverkan på högre nivåerna av neutrofiler, monocyter, kvoten mellan neutrofiler och lymfocyter, CRP, MIP-1b och TNF-α.

Uppkomsten av HH-cancer, behandlingsresultat och överlevnad bland patienterna kan antas inte bara bero på tumörens egenskaper, utan även på värdfaktorer hos patienten. Dessa kan vara ärftliga, eller bero på reglering av gener eller tumörens omgivning av t.ex. immunceller och inflammatoriska molekyler och hur dessa samverkar med miljöfaktorer som tobaksrökning. I denna avhandling presenteras biomarkörer som kan bidra med information om risk och prognos för HH-cancer samt hur tobaksrökning påverkar dessa markörer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2019. , p. 59
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1719
National Category
Cancer and Oncology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-162097DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-162097ISBN: 9789179299538 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-162097DiVA, id: diva2:1371141
Public defence
2019-12-13, Originalet, Qulturum, Länssjukhuset Ryhov, Jönköping, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-11-19 Created: 2019-11-19 Last updated: 2019-11-19Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Plasma tumor necrosis factor-α and C-reactive protein as biomarker for survival in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Plasma tumor necrosis factor-α and C-reactive protein as biomarker for survival in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
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2014 (English)In: Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology, ISSN 0171-5216, E-ISSN 1432-1335, Vol. 140, no 3, p. 515-519Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

PURPOSE: Tumor TNM staging is the main basis for prognosis and treatment decision for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) despite significant heterogeneity in terms of outcome among patients with the same clinical stage. In this study, a possible role of plasma interleukin-2 (IL-2), interleukin-6 (IL-6), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and C-reactive protein (CRP) as biomarkers for survival of HNSCC patients was investigated.

METHODS: In this prospective study, plasma levels of IL-2, IL-6, GM-CSF, TNF-α and CRP in patients (n = 100) and controls (n = 48) were analyzed.

RESULTS: Significantly elevated levels of CRP and TNF-α (p < 0.001) were found in the patients. Combination of upregulated CRP and TNF-α in the patient plasma was significantly related to shorter patient survival, independent of clinical stage.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that CRP and TNF-α might be suitable as biomarkers in combination with tumor TNM staging for predicting survival and individualized treatment of HNSCC patients. Plasma CRP and TNF-α analysis are simple, rapid, cost effective and suitable for clinical practice.

Keywords
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, Biomarkers, Survival, CRP, TNF-α
National Category
Cancer and Oncology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-162092 (URN)10.1007/s00432-014-1592-8 (DOI)24481866 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2019-11-19 Created: 2019-11-19 Last updated: 2019-11-19Bibliographically approved
2. Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms and Cancer Risk, Tumor Recurrence, or Survival of Head and Neck Cancer Patients
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms and Cancer Risk, Tumor Recurrence, or Survival of Head and Neck Cancer Patients
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2017 (English)In: Oncology, ISSN 0030-2414, E-ISSN 1423-0232, Vol. 92, no 3, p. 161-169Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: This paper aims at studying the influence of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on cancer risk, tumor recurrence, and survival in head and neck (Hamp;N) cancer patients. Methods: A total of 45 SNPs in 41 genes were investigated. A total of 174 Caucasian Hamp;N cancer patients and 245 healthy blood donors were enrolled in the study. Results: Ten SNPs were associated with Hamp;N cancer risk, but the identified SNPs differed among males and females. Some of the SNPs were related to immune response genes. The immune response gene SNPs were also related to survival. In particular, we noted that the tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) rs1800629 could have an influence on cancer risk; tumor recurrence as well as survival. Conclusion: Genetic variation of the TNFa rs1800629 might be useful as a biomarker in clinical decision-making since it was found to be related to cancer risk, tumor recurrence, and survival of Hamp;N cancer patients. (C) 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
KARGER, 2017
Keywords
Head and neck cancer; Tumor recurrence; Survival time; Single-nucleotide polymorphisms
National Category
Cancer and Oncology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-136217 (URN)10.1159/000452278 (DOI)000395366800005 ()27997918 (PubMedID)
Note

Funding Agencies|Jonkoping Clinical Cancer Research Foundation; Futurum; FORSS; Swedish Laryngeal Foundation

Available from: 2017-03-31 Created: 2017-03-31 Last updated: 2019-11-19
3. Cigarette smoking affects microRNAs and inflammatory biomarkers in healthy individuals and an association to single nucleotide polymorphisms is indicated
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Cigarette smoking affects microRNAs and inflammatory biomarkers in healthy individuals and an association to single nucleotide polymorphisms is indicated
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2019 (English)In: Biomarkers, ISSN 1354-750X, E-ISSN 1366-5804, Vol. 24, no 2, p. 180-185Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Cigarette smoke induces inflammation and remodels immune response. Genetic and epigenetic alterations might be involved in the pathogenesis of smoking related diseases. In this study, we investigated the effect of smoking on systemic inflammation biomarkers and epigenetic changes at microRNA (miRNA) expression level. We also examined if the levels of inflammatory biomarkers were associated with selected single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Method: From 39 smokers and 101 non-smokers, levels of total white blood cells (WBCs) and its subpopulations, plasma cytokines/chemokines/proteins and miRNAs were analysed. For three biomarkers, C-reactive protein (CRP), MCP-1 and IFN-gamma that were affected by smoking, the influence of SNPs was analyzed. Result: Elevated levels of total WBCs, neutrophils, monocytes, lymphocytes, CRP, MCP-1, IFN-gamma and lower levels of miR-21 were detected in smokers. The elevated levels of IFN-gamma in smokers was only statistically significantly associated with rs2069705 AG/GG SNP-genotype. Conclusions: A lower level of oncomir miRNA-21 and a higher level of immune modelling cytokine IFN-gamma detected in smokers could be a protective immune response to cigarette smoke. The higher level of IFN-gamma in smokers with a specific SNP genotype also suggests that a genetic interaction with smoking might predict the pathobiology of smoking related disease.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2019
Keywords
Immune respons; single nucleotide polymorphism; microRNA; smoking related diseases; cigarette smoking
National Category
Rheumatology and Autoimmunity
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-157272 (URN)10.1080/1354750X.2018.1539764 (DOI)000465158700011 ()30375257 (PubMedID)
Note

Funding Agencies|Forskningsradet i Sydostra Sverige; Futurum-Academy of HealthCare at Jonkoping County Council [477461, 490031, 669631]; Foundation of Clinical Cancer Research in Jo nkoping [110426-1]; Medical Research Council of Southeast Sweden (FORSS) [567001]

Available from: 2019-06-12 Created: 2019-06-12 Last updated: 2019-11-19
4. Impact of Cigarette Smoking and Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma on Circulating Inflammatory Biomarkers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Impact of Cigarette Smoking and Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma on Circulating Inflammatory Biomarkers
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2019 (English)In: Oncology, ISSN 0030-2414, E-ISSN 1423-0232, p. 1-6Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

INTRODUCTION: Smoking induces inflammation and an immune response. A cancer-related inflammatory response has been seen in smoking and nonsmoking head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients.

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to analyze the possible separated effects of smoking or HNSCC on 18 inflammatory or immune regulatory biomarkers.

METHODS: Fifty-one nonsmoking and 36 smoking pretreated HNSCC patients and 101 nonsmoking and 39 smoking controls were included in this study. The levels of 18 inflammatory or immune regulatory biomarkers were analyzed. A multivariable linear regression model was used to predict the impact of smoking and HNSCC on the levels of the biomarkers.

RESULTS: Smoking had the highest impact on total WBC, IFN-γ, and MCP-1 levels. The highest impact of HNSCC was found on neutrophils, neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio, HsCRP, MIP-1b, and TNF-α levels.

CONCLUSION: Identifying HNSCC or smoking-related inflammatory biomarkers might contribute to the understanding of the immune response in HNSCC patients. This study could provide information of inflammatory biomarkers in HNSCC patients.

Keywords
Biomarkers, Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, Immune response, Inflammation, Smoking
National Category
Cancer and Oncology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-162093 (URN)10.1159/000502651 (DOI)31437849 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2019-11-19 Created: 2019-11-19 Last updated: 2019-11-19Bibliographically approved

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