Hormone and cytokine circadian alteration in non-small cell lung cancer patients

G. Mazzoccoli, R. B. Sothern, M. Francavilla, F. Giuliani, S. Carughi, L. A. Muscarella, V. M. Fazio, P. Parrella, M. Vinciguerra, R. Tarquini

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Alterations in hormone secretion and cytokine levels have been evidenced in many neoplastic diseases. In this study we have evaluated the circadian profile of growth hormone (GH), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), interleukin-2 (IL2), melatonin (MEL) and Cortisol (COR) serum levels in nonsmall cell lung cancer patients. Blood was sampled every 4 h for 24 h in 11 healthy (H) men (ages 35-53 years) and 9 men with stage 2, 3 or 4 non-small cell lung cancer (C) (ages 43-63 years). Serum GH, total IGF1, IL2, MEL and COR were measured and examined for group differences, trends, and rhythm characteristics. 24-h means were significantly higher in C234 vs H for GH, GH/IGF1, IL2 and COR, and lower for IGF1, but IL2 and COR were not different for C23 vs H. A linear regression across 4 groups (H, C2, C3, C4) found a positive trend for COR, GH, GH/IGF1 and 1L2, and a negative trend for IGF1. A linear regression run between the 24-h mean levels of GH, IGF1, COR, MEL and IL2 in healthy subjects evidenced a statistically significant positive trend between MEL and GH (R=0.281, p=0.022) and in cancer patients showed a statistically significant negative trend between GH and IGF1 (R=0.332, p=0.01), COR and IGF1 (R=0.430, p=0.001), and a statistically significant positive trend between the 24-h mean of COR and GH (R=0.304, p=0.02). Rhythms in MEL and COR (peaks near 01:00h and 08:00h, respectively) indicated identical synchronization to the light-dark cycle for both groups. A circadian rhythm was detected in GH and GH/IGF1 for C23 and H, with IGF1 and IL2 non-rhythmic in any group. In conclusion, an increasing trend and progressive loss of circadian rhythmicity in GH and GH/IGF1, an increasing trend in Cortisol and IL2, and a decreasing trend in IGF1 in C, reflect a complex chain of events that could be involved in progression of neoplastic disease. A therapeutic strategy needs to take into account circadian patterns and complex interactions of the multiple functions that characterize the hormone and cytokine levels in the frame cancer progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)691-702
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • Cortisol
  • GH
  • IGF1 IL2
  • Melatonin
  • Rhythm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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