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Macrophage Marker Linked to Survival in Melanoma

Last Updated: June 18, 2009.

Levels of a protein shed from anti-inflammatory macrophages and the level of macrophage infiltration into the tumor are associated with survival in patients with melanoma, according to a study published online June 15 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

THURSDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Levels of a protein shed from anti-inflammatory macrophages and the level of macrophage infiltration into the tumor are associated with survival in patients with melanoma, according to a study published online June 15 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Trine O. Jensen, M.D., from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues measured the levels of serum soluble CD163 (sCD163), a scavenger receptor shed from the surface of anti-inflammatory macrophages, in 227 patients with stage I/II melanoma before and after surgery. Primary melanoma tissue was also examined for macrophage infiltration of tumor nests, tumor stroma, and at the invasive front of the tumor.

The researchers found that 21 percent of patients relapsed and 20 percent of patients died. sCD163 levels at baseline were associated with poor overall survival (hazard ratio, 1.4). Melanomas with high infiltration of CD163-positive macrophages into tumor stroma and of CD68-positive macrophages at the invasive front were also associated with poor overall survival (hazard ratios, 2.7 and 2.8, respectively) regardless of thickness and ulceration.

"Both serum levels of sCD163 and the presence of CD68 macrophage infiltration at the tumor invasive front are independent predictors of survival in American Joint Committee on Cancer stage I/II melanoma," Jensen and colleagues conclude. "CD163 cell infiltration in tumor stroma may be predictive of survival."

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