(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Presurgical blood levels of the glycophosphoroprotein osteopontin (OPN) are significantly associated with prognosis among patients undergoing surgical resection for non small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to a study published in the journal Clinical Lung Cancer.

“The preoperative serum OPN level was a useful predictor of an unfavorable prognosis, and it was found to be an independent prognostic determinant of outcome in patients who underwent surgery for NSCLC,” reported Masaru Takenaka, of the University of Occupational and Environmental Health in Kitakyushu, Japan, and coauthors.

Higher serum OPN levels were associated with higher rates of pleural and microvascular invasions by lung tumors, and lower 5-year postsurgical survival rates, they reported.

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“The 5-year survival rate after surgery in the lower OPN group (82.0%) was a significant favorable prognosis (factor, compared to) that in the higher OPN group (63.7%) (P < 0.0001),” they wrote. “The 5-year survival rates in the lower OPN group at stage I NSCLC (88.1%) was significantly better than that in the higher OPN group (80.5%) (P = 0.0321).”

Study participants had a total of 172 adenocarcinomas, 49 squamous cell carcinomas, and 23 “other” carcinomas, the authors noted. Of these, OPN levels were significantly higher in squamous cell carcinomas than in adenocarcinomas, they reported.

Serum OPN levels were significantly higher in male patients (92.6 ng/mL) than female patients (76.9 ng/mL). The histologic types included 172 adenocarcinomas, 49 squamous cell carcinomas, and 23 other types of carcinoma.

“The serum OPN level as a tumor marker is important for the auxiliary diagnosis of NSCLC patients because a high OPN level was found to be correlated with both an advanced clinical stage of the disease and the invasiveness of the tumor, including pleural and microvascular invasions,” they concluded. “A patient’s preoperative serum OPN level might be a useful determinant for selecting optimal treatments, including the use of adjuvant chemotherapy.”

Controlled clinical studies are needed to confirm the findings.