Immune Protein Levels Predict Hodgkin Disease Risk
28 Dec 2012
The amount of an immunity-related protein in the blood of patients with newly diagnosed Hodgkin lymphoma reflected the extent of their cancer and correlated with other predictors of outcome.
Antibodies have been developed that recognize the galectin-1 protein and were used in creating a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) as serum galectin-1 levels are significantly associated with tumor burden and additional adverse clinical characteristics in newly diagnosed Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) patients.
Scientists from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Boston, MA, USA) collaborating with their German counterparts at the University Hospital of Cologne (Germany) tested the blood levels of galactin-1 in 315 patients. The patients 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.
The investigators found that by using the sandwich ELISA, the blood galectin-1 levels in Hodgkin lymphoma 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 clinical trials.
Margaret Shipp, MD, who led the study and is the director of the lymphoma program at Dana-Farber, and whose group has made a "neutralizing" antibody to block the protein, said, “Beyond the potential for a clinical test, galectin-1 holds promise as a therapeutic target. The antibody, which is produced in mice, would need to be "humanized," or genetically modified to be compatible with human patients, and then undergo rigorous testing for safety and efficacy. This is under discussion with potential industrial partners. The study was presented at the 54th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology held December 8-11, 2012, in Atlanta (GA, USA).