Endocrine connections

Plasma acylated and plasma unacylated ghrelin: useful new biomarkers in patients with neuroendocrine tumors?

PMID 27215920


To date, the value of fasting plasma acylated ghrelin (AG) and unacylated ghrelin (UAG) as potential novel biomarkers in patients with neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) is unknown. The aims of this study are to (i) compare fasting AG and UAG levels between nonobese, nondiabetic NET patients (N=28) and age- (±3 years) and sex-matched nonobese, nondiabetic controls (N=28); and (ii) study the relationship between AG, UAG, and AG/UAG ratios and biochemical (chromogranin-A (CgA) and neuron-specific enolase (NSE) levels) and clinical parameters (age at diagnosis, sex, primary tumor location, carcinoid syndrome, ENETS TNM classification, Ki-67 proliferation index, grading, prior incomplete surgery) in NET patients. Fasting venous blood samples (N=56) were collected and directly stabilized with 4-(2-aminoethyl) benzenesulfonyl fluoride hydrochloride after withdrawal. Plasma AG and UAG levels were determined by ELISA. Expression of ghrelin was examined in tumor tissue by immunohistochemistry. There were no significant differences between NET patients and controls in AG (median: 62.5 pg/mL, IQR: 33.1-112.8 vs median: 57.2pg/mL, IQR: 26.7-128.3, P=0.66) and UAG in levels (median: 76.6pg/mL, IQR: 35.23-121.7 vs median: 64.9, IQR: 27.5-93.1, P=0.44). No significant correlations were found between AG, UAG, and AG/UAG ratios versus biochemical and clinical parameters in NET patients with the exception of age at diagnosis (AG: ρ= -0.47, P=0.012; AG/UAG ratio: ρ= -0.50, P=0.007) and baseline chromogranin-A levels (AG/UAG ratio: ρ= -0.44, P=0.019). In our view, fasting plasma acylated and unacylated ghrelin appear to have no value as diagnostic biomarkers in the clinical follow-up of patients with NETs.

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