African Americans have a higher risk of developing lung cancer compared with all other ethnic groups in the USA. Previous studies based on a small panel of markers suggested that certain circulating cytokines were associated with lung cancer. Given the complexity of the immune response in lung cancer and the multitude of cell types involved, we reasoned that examining a broad panel of inflammatory markers — including cytokines, chemokines, angiogenic and other pro-inflammatory factors — might identify a diagnostic signature of lung cancer for African American patients.


Differences in 30 inflammatory marker serum levels, were measured in 308 African-American cases and 501 African American controls from the National Cancer Institute-Maryland (NCI-MD) case-control study using a Mesoscale multiplex platform (MSD). The panel of 30 serum inflammatory markers, included chemokines, cytokines and other inflammatory related proteins (Mesoscale VPLEX assay). Associations of the serum cytokine levels with lung cancer were analyzed using Stata statistical software (StataCorp, TX)


Fifteen inflammatory markers (CRP, IFN-gamma, IL-10, IL-15, IL-17A, IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, IP-10, MCP-4, MIP-1alpha, TARC, TNF-alpha and VEGF) were significantly different among African American cases compared with African American controls. In agreement with our previous observations, levels of IL-10, IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-alpha were associated with lung cancer risk. In addition, we found that CRP, IFN-gamma, IL-15, IL-7, IP-10, MCP-4, MIP-1alpha, TARC, and VEGF were associated with lung cancer in African Americans. The associations between CRP, IFN-gamma, IL-10, IL-15, IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, IP-10 and MCP-4 levels and lung cancer among African Americans were significant after adjustment for additional potential confounding factors.


Serum cytokine levels vary by race and might contribute to lung cancer differently between African Americans and European Americans. The findings presented here build upon recent work that identified associations between elevated levels of IL-10, IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-alpha and lung cancer among African Americans. Furthermore, by analyzing a broader spectrum of inflammation, we have identified additional markers of lung cancer for African American patients.

Citation Format: Claire L. Meaney, Khadijah A. Mitchell, Adriana Zingone, Derek Brown, Wei Tang, Yunkai Yu, Liang Cao, Brid M. Ryan. Inflammatory-based diagnostic markers of lung cancer in African Americans. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Ninth AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved; 2016 Sep 25-28; Fort Lauderdale, FL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2017;26(2 Suppl):Abstract nr B60.