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Serum Levels of Soluble IL-6 Receptor in Multiple Myeloma as Indicator of Disease ActivityPapadaki H. · Kyriakou D. · Foudoulakis A. · Markidou F. · Alexandrakis M. · Eliopoulos G.D.
Division of Haematology of the University of Crete School of Medicine, University Hospital of Heraklion, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
Serum soluble interleukin-6 receptor (sIL·6R) concentrations were measured in 50 patients with plasma cell dyscrasias using a commercially available immunoenzymatic assay kit. There were 40 patients with multiple myeloma (MM), 5 patients with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), 3 patients with solitary plasmacytoma (SPC), 1 patient with chronic myelogenous leukaemia and multiple myeloma (CML + MM), and 1 patient with plasma cell leukaemia (PCL). We found that serum sIL-6R concentrations were higher in MM patients (62.53 ± 38.85 ng/ml) than in 20 normal volunteers studied (36.75 ± 13.79 ng/ml) (p < 0.01). The cut-off value of 65 ng/ml seen in 2 of our controls was arbitrarily taken as the upper limit of the control range for serum sIL-6R; according to this criterion, 14 patients with MM (35%), 1 patient with SPC, the unique patient with CML + MM, and the unique patient with PCL had elevated concentrations of the receptor. Patients with MGUS had normal sIL-6R values. In MM patients, serum sIL-6R levels correlated with the clinical phase of the disease: they were elevated in patients with early or late active disease and ranged within normal limits in patients with plateau-phase disease (p < 0.001). Thirteen of 27 patients with active MM had elevated serum sIL-6R values, i.e. 48.1%, but only 1 out of 13 patients with disease in the plateau phase, i.e. 7.7% (p < 0.05). Furthermore, in the entire group of MM patients, serum sIL-6R levels correlated with the concentrations of serum β2-microglobulin (p < 0.02), CRP (p < 0.01), ferritin (p < 0.01) and LDH (p < 0.01), while they did not correlate with disease stage, haemoglobin levels, proportion of marrow myeloma cells, the values of serum IL-6, the levels of serum albumin, or the grade of bone lesions. We conclude that elevated serum sIL-6R levels should be related to the growth of myeloma cells and suggest that serum sIL-6R concentrations may be used as an indicator of disease activity.
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