Article Abstract

Interleukin-6 as a biomarker in patients with hepatobiliary cancers

Authors: Rohit Gosain, Sidra Anwar, Austin Miller, Renuka Iyer, Sarbajit Mukherjee


Background: The role of inflammation has been well established in many cancers, including hepatobiliary cancers. Elevated levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a pro-inflammatory marker, are associated with poor overall survival (OS) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients.
Methods: We performed a study to establish the role of IL-6 as a prognostic biomarker in both HCC and biliary cancer patients and further assessed the impact of IL-6 on pain score and performance status, two parameters that affect the quality of life. We evaluated 91 patients with newly diagnosed unresectable hepatobiliary cancer and compared them with age, gender and BMI matched healthy controls.
Results: We found that IL-6 levels were elevated in hepatobiliary cancer patients compared to healthy controls. Higher levels of IL-6 were associated with poor prognosis, elevated pain scores and poor performance status in patients. Interestingly, we found an association between elevated IL-6 levels and the presence of portal vein thrombosis (PVT) at the time of cancer diagnosis.
Conclusions: This study suggests that IL-6 is an important prognostic biomarker in hepatobiliary cancers, where elevated levels are not only associated with a worse survival but also linked to an inferior quality of life.