Pre-operative sera interleukin-6 in the diagnosis of high-grade serous ovarian cancer

Nirmala Chandralega Kampan, Mutsa Tatenda Madondo, John Reynolds, Julene Hallo, Orla M. McNally, Thomas W. Jobling, Andrew N. Stephens, Michael A. Quinn, Magdalena Plebanski

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Pre-operative discrimination of malignant masses is crucial for accurate diagnosis and prompt referral to a gynae oncology centre for optimal surgical intervention. HGSOC progression is correlated with local and systemic inflammation. We hypothesised that inclusion of inflammatory biomarkers in sera may improve diagnostic tests. In the training cohort, we tested four existing clinical tests (RMI score and ROMA, CA125 and HE4) and a panel of 28 immune soluble biomarkers in sera from 66 patients undergoing surgery for suspected ovarian cancer. Six promising immune biomarkers alone, or in combination with conventional tests, were subsequently analysed in an independent validation cohort (n = 69). IL-6 was identified as the main driver of variability followed closely by conventional diagnostic tests. Median sera IL-6 was higher in HGSOC patients compared to those with a benign mass or controls with normal ovaries (28.3 vs 7.3 vs 1.2 pg/ml, p < 0.0001). The combination of IL-6 further improved the overall predictive probability of the conventional tests. Modelling a two-step triage of women with a suspicious ovarian mass, with IL-6 > 3.75 pg/ml as primary triage followed by conventional tests (CA125 or RMI score) identified ovarian cancer in patients with a misclassification rate of 4.54–3.03%, superior to the use of CA125 or RMI alone (9.09 to 10.60). The validation cohort demonstrated a similar improvement in the diagnostic sensitivity following addition of IL-6. IL-6 in combination with conventional tests may be a useful clinical biomarker for triage of patients with a suspected malignant ovarian mass.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2213
Number of pages15
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2020

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