TGF-beta, radiation-induced pulmonary injury and lung cancer.
PURPOSE: To determine whether changes in TGF-beta plasma levels during radiation therapy may be useful in predicting radiation-induced pulmonary injury and tumour response in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Plasma TGF-beta was investigated in 27 patients with stage III NSCLC, who were treated with 60 Gy (2Gy/day) radiotherapy with or without carboplatin. TGF-beta was measured prior to beginning radiotherapy and weekly during treatment; evaluated as a ratio between TGF-beta levels obtained during treatment and the pretreatment TGF-beta level. The endpoints of the study were development of symptomatic radiation pneumonitis and tumour response. RESULTS: Nine of the 27 patients developed pneumonitis. The patients who developed pneumonitis had high persistent TGF-beta levels throughout the course of treatment (TGF-beta ratio>1), whereas the TGF-beta levels in patients who did not develop pneumonitis were unchanged or declined towards normal (TGF-beta ratio < 1). Patients who responded to treatment had low or normal TGF-beta levels during treatment compared with patients who failed to respond. Other parameters such as pretreatment TGF-beta values, carboplatin treatment or field size did not appear to have a significant effect, which is probably due to the small number of patients entered in the study. CONCLUSION: This pilot study, with a limited number of patients, suggests the hypothesis that elevated TGF-beta levels during radiotherapy may not only indicate patients with a higher risk of developing pulmonary toxicity but also patients with a higher risk of treatment failure. This remains to be tested in a larger clinical study.
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)