Clinical variables provide little information about the potential of a tumour to spread and consequently the search for effective serum marker molecules has been intense. In 21 April Lancet Eric Tartour and colleagues from the Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, Paris, propose the use of soluble interleukin-2 receptor as a prognostic marker in head and neck cancer.

The alpha chain of the IL-2 receptor (IL-2R*) is expressed on activated T cells and at lower levels on activated B cells, natural killer cells, and tumour cells. Tartour et al performed a multivariate prospective analysis of 234 patients with head and neck squamous-cell carcinoma and found that high serum concentrations of sIL-2R* at diagnosis was highly correlated with a shorter survival (p<0·0001). In addition, patients with low serum sIL-2R* at diagnosis were less likely to develop metastasis during the subsequent 36 months, compared with the group with...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?