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Exploring the Possible Prognostic Role of B-Lymphocyte Stimulator (BLyS) in a Large Series of Patients with Neuroendocrine Tumors

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Background and Objective: BLyS (B-Lymphocyte stimulator) is over-expressed in several tumoral settings, with direct or indirect effects on neoplastic proliferation and possibly representing a therapeutic target. In this study, we explored the role of BLyS in a large population of patients with neuroendocrine tumors (NETs).

Methods: The study analyzed the stored sera of 124 consecutive unselected patients with NETs: 36 lung carcinoids (24 typical, 12 atypical), 47 gastroenteric tract and 41 pancreatic (30 non-functioning and 11 functioning: 9 insulinomas, 2 glucagonomas). In 23 cases, BLyS was repeatedly assessed during the follow-up and the disease was monitored (progression, stabilization or remission) according to the RECIST criteria. Patients were compared to 92 age and sex-matched blood donors (BDs). Serum levels of BLyS and Chromogranin A (CgA) were analyzed by ELISA.

Results: NET patients showed significantly higher BLyS levels than BDs (1274±809 pg/ml vs. 587±173 pg/ml; p<0.0001). BLyS correlated weakly with CgA (r=0.19 and p=0.035) but did not correlate with Ki67, grading, metastasis, histological type and site. In patients with sustained remission after surgery, BLyS and CgA both showed a gradual reduction over time. Patients with progressing disease showed higher BLyS levels compared to stable patients (1524±694 pg/ml vs. 1168± 373 pg/ml; p= 0.033). BLyS serum levels remained stable in remission and therapy-controlled patients, while increased in the follow-up of progressing cases.

Conclusion: Higher BLyS levels identify patients with a more severe disease, characterized by progression despite treatments, possibly representing a factor implicated in the proliferation of the neoplastic cells or in sustaining the neoplastic environment.
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Keywords: B-Lymphocyte stimulator; chromogranin A; insulinoma; neuroendocrine tumors; prognosis; somatostatin

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2018

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  • This journal is devoted to timely reviews of experimental and clinical studies in the field of endocrine, metabolic, and immune disorders. Specific emphasis is placed on humoral and cellular targets for natural, synthetic, and genetically engineered drugs that enhance or impair endocrine, metabolic, and immune parameters and functions. Topics related to the neuroendocrine-immune axis are given special emphasis in view of the growing interest in stress-related, inflammatory, autoimmune, and degenerative disorders.
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