GI tumor expression of proteolysis-inducing factor linked to weight loss

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Last Updated: 2001-07-26 12:55:26 EDT (Reuters Health)

WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) – Expression of proteolysis-inducing factor (PIF) by tumors from patients with gastrointestinal cancer correlates with weight loss, according to a report in the June 15th British Journal of Cancer.

In mice, PIF causes weight loss by enhancing protein degradation without diminishing appetite. Although PIF has previously been identified in the urine of cachectic cancer patients, the authors explain, human tumors have not previously been shown to express PIF.

Dr. R. Cabal-Manzano and colleagues, from Georgetown University Medical Center, in Washington, DC, studied tumor samples from 16 patients with gastrointestinal cancer for the presence of PIF.

Between 30% and 80% of cells stained positive for PIF in the tissue from six of the patients, the authors report, with stronger staining seen in moderately to poorly differentiated carcinomas.

PIF was also detected in the urine of all patients whose tissue samples stained positive for PIF, the report indicates.

Patients whose tissues expressed PIF had lost 8% to 39% of their pre-illness weight (average 18%), the researchers note, and weight loss strongly correlated with the presence of PIF in tumor tissue and urine.

Eight of 10 patients whose tissues and urine tested negative for PIF had lost between 1% and 7% of their pre-illness weight, the results indicate, and the remaining two patients lost weight as a result of concomitant medical problems.

"Data from our study show that tumors are the source of PIF in patients with gastrointestinal cancers, and the expression of PIF in tumors correlates directly with its presence in urine," the authors conclude. "We are prospectively evaluating tumor, serum and urine PIF as markers of cachexia and disease prognosis in patients with gastrointestinal cancers."

"Further studies will be needed…to identify the mechanisms of production and secretion of PIF," the investigators add.

Br J Cancer 2001;84:1599-1601.

-Westport Newsroom 203 319 2700

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