Blood levels of immune protein predict risk in Hodgkin disease

December 10, 2012

Blood levels of an immunity-related protein, galectin-1, in patients with newly diagnosed Hodgkin lymphoma reflected the extent of their cancer and correlated with other predictors of outcome, scientists reported at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting.

In a study of 315 patients from a German database, researchers from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found that serum galectin-1 levels "are significantly associated with tumor burden and additional adverse clinical characteristics in newly diagnosed Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) patients."

The measurements were made possible by a new laboratory test called a "sandwich ELISA" devised by the Dana-Farber team, led by Margaret Shipp, MD, director of the lymphoma program at Dana-Farber. Galectin-1 is a protein which, when overexpressed by Hodgkin lymphoma cells, allows them to evade the body's immune response that normally would detect the cancer and attack it with cell-killing lymphocytes. The Shipp group developed antibodies that recognize the galectin-1 protein and were used in developing the sandwich ELISA assay.

Since the protein is secreted into the bloodstream, the investigators hypothesized that measuring relative levels of galectin-1 in newly diagnosed, untreated Hodgkin patients could help to assess likely outcomes in those patients. Such predictions, in turn, could help physicians decide how aggressively to treat the lymphoma, Shipp explained. With further development, she added, the assay could become "an objective test that might help make decisions on which way to treat patients."

The Dana-Farber scientists collaborated with researchers of the German Hodgkin Study Group (GHSG) at the University Hospital of Cologne. Shipp said that the GHSG has "probably the largest, most comprehensive data on clinical trials of patient with well-defined Hodgkin lymphoma." The 315 patients whose blood levels of galactin-1 were tested in the study had been enrolled in three different clinical trials - one for early-stage disease, a second for early-stage disease with additional less-favorable risk factors, and the third for patients with bulky localized or advanced-stage disease.

Using the sandwich ELISA assay, the Dana-Farber investigators found that blood galectin-1 levels in Hodgkin lymphoma patients were significantly higher than in normal control patients. They also found that relative galectin-1 levels were correlated with the risk factors that had been used to assign the 315 patients to the three different clinical trials. Direct comparisons of the galectin-1 levels with patient outcomes are awaiting the completion of one of the clinical trials, the researchers noted.

Beyond the potential for a clinical test, galectin-1 holds promise as a therapeutic target, said Shipp, whose group has made a "neutralizing" antibody to block the protein. She said the antibody, which is produced in mice, would need to be "humanized," or genetically modified to be compatible with human patients, and then undergo rigorous testing for safety and efficacy. This is under discussion with potential industrial partners, said Shipp.
-end-
The first author of the report is Jing Ouyang, PhD, a postdoc in the Shipp laboratory.

The research was supported by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and by the Miller Family Research Fund.

About Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a principal teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School and is among the leading cancer research and care centers in the United States. It is a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute. It provides adult cancer care with Brigham and Women's Hospital as Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center and it provides pediatric care with Boston Children's Hospital as Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center. Dana-Farber is the top ranked cancer center in New England, according to U.S. News & World Report, and one of the largest recipients among independent hospitals of National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health grant funding. Follow Dana-Farber on Facebook: www.facebook.com/danafarbercancerinstitute and on Twitter: @danafarber.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.