Circulating Hsp70 Levels and the Immunophenotype of Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes as Potential Biomarkers for Advanced Lung Cancer and Therapy Failure after Surgery
Lung cancer remains a devastating disease with a poor clinical outcome. A biomarker signature which could distinguish lung cancer from metastatic disease and detect therapeutic failure would significantly improve patient management and allow for individualized, risk-adjusted therapeutic decisions. In this study, circulating Hsp70 levels were measured using ELISA, and the immunophenotype of the peripheral blood lymphocytes were measured using multiparameter flow cytometry, to identify a predictive biomarker signature for lung cancer patients pre- and post-operatively, in patients with lung metastases and in patients with COPD as an inflammatory lung disease. The lowest Hsp70 concentrations were found in the healthy controls followed by the patients with advanced COPD. Hsp70 levels sequentially increased with an advancing tumor stage and metastatic disease. In the early-recurrence patients, Hsp70 levels started to increase within the first three months after surgery, but remained unaltered in the recurrence-free patients. An early recurrence was associated with a significant drop in B cells and an increase in Tregs, whereas the recurrence-free patients had elevated T and NK cell levels. We conclude that circulating Hsp70 concentrations might have the potential to distinguish lung cancer from metastatic disease, and might be able to predict an advanced tumor stage and early recurrence in lung cancer patients. Further studies with larger patient cohorts and longer follow-up periods are needed to validate Hsp70 and immunophenotypic profiles as predictive biomarker signatures.