Altered immune responses have been reported in head and neck cancer, and some of these responses have been associated with poor clinical outcomes. A multiple-array technology platform was used to simultaneously evaluate the levels of 25 cytokines. Pre-treatment serum levels were evaluated in 31 HNSCC patients and 6 healthy controls. The levels of 8 cytokines, specifically IL-1ra, IL-2, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-17, IFN-γ and IP-10, were significantly higher in patients than in controls. Among cancer patients we observed lower levels of IFN-γ and IL-7 in cases with nodal metastases compared to those with cN0 disease. We observed increases in the levels of some serum cytokines in HNSCC patients, as well as reductions in selected cytokines associated with regional progression. These findings provide an intriguing perspective on the development and validation of novel markers for follow-up evaluations and predictions of regional spreading in HNSCC patients.
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