Interleukin-6 but not tumour necrosis factor-alpha predicts survival in patients with advanced cancer

Sang Yeon Suh, Youn Seon Choi, Chang Hwan Yeom, Sang Mi Kwak, Ho Min Yoon, Dae Gyun Kim, Su Jin Koh, Jeanno Park, Myung Ah Lee, Yong Joo Lee, Ah Ram Seo, Hong Yup Ahn, Eunji Yim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prognostic role of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) in the survival of patients with advanced cancer. Methods: In this prospective cohort study between three hospice and palliative care centres in South Korea, we followed 98 advanced cancer patients until death or the end of the study. Approximately 60 % of the patients had poor functional status (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group score ≥3). We investigated the symptoms of cancer cachexia anorexia syndrome, possible cytokine-related confounders such as infection and medication records. Influence from clinical variables was adjusted using the Cox proportional hazard model. Results: The median survival time was 27 days. On multivariate analysis, elevated IL-6 (hazard ratio, 2.139; p = 0.003) was found to be an independent significant prognostic factor. TNF-α was not a significant factor. Poor performance status and male gender were also independently related to shortened survival. Conclusions: IL-6 level can be a useful indicator of survival time of patients with advanced cancer at the very end of life. In contrast, the prognostic role of TNF-α requires further study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3071-3077
Number of pages7
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Nov
Externally publishedYes


  • Advanced cancer
  • Interleukin-6
  • Survival
  • Tumour necrosis factor-alpha

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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