Purpose: Tumor-induced platelet activation may cause the release of various cytokines, including CD40 ligand (CD40L). Activation of the CD40/CD40L pathway in human tumors may result in thrombin generation, which is known to be involved in angiogenesis. Thus, we investigated whether soluble (s)CD40L levels are increased in patients with lung cancer as a result of platelet and/or coagulation activation. Experimental Design: Citrated plasma samples were obtained from 120 patients with different stages and histotypes of lung cancer and 60 age- and sex-matched control subjects. sCD40L, sP-selectin (marker of platelet activation), prothrombin fragment 1 + 2, and thrombin-antithrombin III complex levels (both markers of coagulative activation) were measured in all samples. Results: Patients with lung cancer had median sCD40L levels higher than in control subjects (0.46 versus 0.13 ng/ml; P <0.0001), although correlation with the stage of disease was not evident. Nonetheless, sCD40L levels were significantly higher in squamous cancer compared with adenocarcinoma (0.75 versus 0.27 ng/ml; P <0.05). Moreover, median sCD40L levels were higher in stage IV compared with nonmetastatic squamous lung cancer (1.02 versus 0.61 ng/mi; P <0.05). sCD40L levels significantly correlated with sP-selectin (P <0.001), prothrombin fragment 1 + 2 (P <0.001), or thrombin-antithrombin III complex (P <0.05) in squamous lung cancer, but only sP-selectin (P = 0.011) was independently related to sCD40L. Conclusions: These findings indicate that elevated sCD40L levels can be preferentially found in patients with advanced squamous cancer and provide evidence that increased levels of this cytokine are associated to the occurrence of in vivo platelet activation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research