Serum oncoproteins and growth factors in asbestosis and silicosis patients

Paul W. Brandt‐Rauf, Steven Smith, Kari Hemminki, Heikki Koskinen, Harri Vainio, Henry Niman, Jean Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Levels of 9 different oncoproteins and growth factors were assayed by immunoblotting with monoclonal antibodies in 91 serum samples collected between March 1983 and August 1987 from 46 pneumoconiosis patients (36 asbestosis, 10 silicosis) at high risk for the development of cancer. Follow‐up of these patients through June 1991 showed that 18 had developed cancer (11 lung, 2 pleural mesothelioma, 2 transitional‐cell carcinomas of the urinary bladder, 1 osteosarcoma, 1 non‐Hodgkin's lymphoma, 1 adenocarcinoma of the gallbladder). Increased serum levels of ras oncogene‐related protein (p21) were found in 7 of the 18 patients who developed cancer (5 lung, 2 pleural mesothelioma) versus 2 of the 28 patients without cancer, a statistically significant difference (p = 0.012). In addition, 6 of the 7 p21‐positive cancer cases had positive serum samples prior to clinical diagnosis of disease (average = 16.3 months, range = 3–26 months prior to diagnosis), suggesting that elevated serum p21 levels may be a useful marker for earlier detection in a significant percentage of respiratory malignancies. Finally, elevated serum levels of PDGF‐related protein were detected significantly more frequently in advanced pneumoconiosis cases (ILO radiographic classification of 2/1 or greater) than in less advanced cases (80% vs. 41.9%; p = 0.016), and there was a tendency for these PDGF‐positive patients to have progression of their disease (68.2% vs. 41.7%; p = 0.065), suggesting that elevated serum PDGF levels may be a marker for the development of severe and progressive pneumoconioses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)881-885
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 1 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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