Klin Onkol 2012; 25(Suppl 2): 58-63. DOI: 10.14735/amko20122S58.
Background: Cancer-related cachexia is a multifactorial syndrome characterised by progressive loss of body weight and it affects a large proportion of patients with advanced cancer. Cachexia is associated with reduced treatment tolerance, response to therapy, quality of life and duration of survival, whereas some of its mechanisms are shared across the whole continuum of diseases in the population, either cancer-related or non-cancer related e.g. systemic inflammation, increased lipolysis, insulin resistance and reduced physical performance. However, so far there has been only little effort to utilise the integrative physiology of adipose tissue to achieve therapeutic gain. B cell-activating factor (BAFF) is a novel member of the TNF ligand superfamily, is mainly produced by myeloid cells and has recently been shown to participate in B-cell survival and B- and T-cell maturation, but also in adipogenesis. Therefore, it represents an elegant candidate molecule linking the immune system and adipose tissue metabolism, both being involved deeply in the pathogenesis of cachexia. Moreover, it has been described very recently that BAFF directly influences secretion of IL-6 and IL-10. Material and Methods: In this study, pre- treatment circulating levels of BAFF were investigated in a cohort of 83 paediatric patients with malignancy (0–18 y) with or without cancer-related cachexia using ELISA-based methodology. Results: Apart from logical significant associations of BAFF circulating levels with disease severity in B-lineage malignancies (ALL or B-cell lymphomas), we observed significant elevation of BAFF in adolescent patients with Ewing sarcoma and rhabdomyosarcoma, compared to the circulating levels appropriate for given age. Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, this is so far the first study focusing on BAFF in paediatric malignancies with or without cancer-related cachexia. More research into whether BAFF can represent a useful circulating biomarker for detection and monitoring of the cancer-related cachexia is imperative.