High circulating activin A level is associated with tumor progression and predicts poor prognosis in lung adenocarcinoma.

PMID 26950277


Activin A (ActA)/follistatin (FST) signaling has been shown to be deregulated in different tumor types including lung adenocarcinoma (LADC). Here, we report that serum ActA protein levels are significantly elevated in LADC patients (n=64) as compared to controls (n=46, p=0.015). ActA levels also correlated with more advanced disease stage (p<0.0001) and T (p=0.0035) and N (p=0.0002) factors. M1 patients had significantly higher ActA levels than M0 patients (p<0.001). High serum ActA level was associated with poor overall survival (p<0.0001) and was confirmed as an independent prognostic factor (p=0.004). Serum FST levels were increased only in female LADC patients (vs. female controls, p=0.031). Two out of five LADC cell lines secreted biologically active ActA, while FST was produced in all of them. Transcripts of both type I and II ActA receptors were detected in all five LADC cell lines. In conclusion, our study does not only suggest that measuring blood ActA levels in LADC patients might improve the prediction of prognosis, but also indicates that this parameter might be a novel non-invasive biomarker for identifying LADC patients with organ metastases.