Molecules Involved in Malignant Pleural Effusion of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

By Robert Dillard - Last Updated: February 22, 2021

A study identified more than five molecules involved in the formation of malignant pleural effusions (MPEs), which deteriorate the quality of life in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The study appeared in The Tokai Journal of Experimental and Clinical Medicine.

The researchers noted that although vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is known to be a key factor for MPE formation, it is not clear whether there are other components related to its appearance.

In this study, the researchers collated pleural effusion and serum samples from 15 patients (median age, 70 years; 11 males) with MPEs of NSCLC (13 adenocarcinoma, two squamous cell carcinoma). They used fluorescence flow cytometry to conduct a cellular analysis of pleural effusion and utilized the cytometric bead array method to analyze cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors in MPEs and blood samples.

The results showed that concentrations of VEGF, interleukin (IL)-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-12/IL-23p40, and C-C motif chemokine ligand 2 were notably higher in MPE than in serum. The researchers observed that pleural IL-5 levels were associated with malignant cell numbers in MPE.

“Production of six molecules were increased in the pleural cavity with MPE of NSCLC. Complex interactions among these molecules may regulate MPE formation,” the researchers concluded.