Background: Ghrelin plays a role in mechanisms related to cancer
progression – including cell proliferation, invasion and migration, and
resistance to apoptosis in the cell lines from several cancers. We
investigated the role of ghrelin levels in cancer cachexia-anorexia in
patients with locally advanced nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated
with chemoradiotherapy (CRT).
Materials and Methods: This study involved 84 NSCLC patients who had received concomitant CRT. Blood ghrelin levels were compared before and 3 months after CRT. Meanwhile, changes in body weight of the patients were also investigated with changes in ghrelin levels before and after CRT.
Results: Ghrelin levels were significantly decreased in line with changes in patients' weights in patients receiving CRT (P < 0.001). Serum albumin levels and inflammatory-nutritional index were significantly decreased after radiotherapy (RT) (3.01 ± 0.40 g/dL, 0.38 ± 0.20) when compared with its baseline levels (3.40 ± 0.55 g/dL,P < 0.001; 0.86 ± 0.71,P < 0.001, respectively). Serum C-reactive protein levels were significantly increased after CRT (7.49 ± 6.53 mg/L) when compared with its baseline levels (9.54 ± 3.80 mg/L,P = 0.038). After RT, ghrelin levels in patients were positively correlated with body mass index (r = 0.830,P < 0.001) and albumin (r = 0.758,P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Ghrelin may play a role in the pathogenesis of weight loss in NSCLC patients. Ghrelin seems to be implicated in cancer-related weight loss. Ghrelin, cancer, and RT all together have a role in tumor-related anorexia-cachexia in patients with NSCLC. Results of this study need further evaluation as regards to its potential role as an adjuvant diagnostic or prognostic marker.