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 and additional adverse clinical characteristics in newly diagnosed Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) patients."

The measurements were made possible by a new 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 , allows them to evade the body's 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 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 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 , 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 , and then undergo rigorous testing for safety and efficacy. This is under discussion with potential industrial partners, said Shipp.

Related Stories

HIV status doesn't influence Hodgkin's lymphoma outcome

October 11, 2012

(HealthDay)—Despite more extensive disease and more adverse prognostic factors, HIV-positive patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) do not have worse outcomes when treated with doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine ...

Recommended for you

New treatment options for a fatal leukemia

July 27, 2015

In industrialized countries like in Europe, acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the most common form of cancer in children. An international research consortium lead by pediatric oncologists from the Universities of Zurich and ...

Exciting results from cancer immunoagent study

July 20, 2015

(Medical Xpress)—Cancer therapies have improved incrementally over the years, but cancer treatment largely remains analogous to forest fire suppression, in which the spread of fire is contained with deliberate controlled ...

Modified DNA building blocks are cancer's Achilles heel

July 22, 2015

In studying how cells recycle the building blocks of DNA, Ludwig Cancer Research scientists have discovered a potential therapeutic strategy for cancer. They found that normal cells have highly selective mechanisms to ensure ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.