Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention : APJCP

Serum kynurenic acid: possible association with invasiveness of non-small cell lung cancer.

PMID 23167321


The lung adenocarcinoma is considered more aggressive than other types of non-small cell lung cancer. As metabolites of tryptophan degradation along the kynurenine pathway, including kynurenic acid, have been shown to induce immunosuppression and facilitate escape of tumor cells from immune surveillance, a hypothesis was set up that differences in biological behavior between types of lung cancer may be associated with altered activity of the kynurenine metabolic pathway. The aim of the study was to determine kynurenic acid levels in the serum of patients with bronchial adenocarcinoma for comparison with other types of non-small cell lung cancer. A total of 227 patients with non-small cell lung cancer were enrolled in the study, including 71 with adenocarcinoma and 96 with squamous cell carcinoma. Serum kynurenic acid concentration was determined with use of high performance liquid chromatography and fluorometry. The level of kynurenic acid in the serum of patients with adenocarcinoma was significantly higher than in those with squamous cell lung cancer (107.1 ± 62.8 pmol/ml; 95%CI: 92.4 to 132.3 pmol/ml versus 82.1 ± 47.6 pmol/ml; 95%CI: 78.5 to 91.2 pmol/ml, respectively; p = 0.027). Differences between other histological types of lung cancer were insignificant. We conclude that increased activity of kynurenine metabolic pathway manifested by elevated serum kynurenic acid level may be one of the factors associated with clinically distinct biological behavior of adenocarcinoma, in particular high invasiveness and rapid progression.