Background: Cachexia is a frequent manifestation of pancreatic cancer, can limit a patient’s ability to take chemotherapy, and is associated with shortened survival. We developed a model to predict the early onset of cachexia in advanced pancreatic cancer patients. Methods: Patients with newly diagnosed, untreated metastatic or locally advanced pancreatic cancer were included. Serum cytokines were drawn prior to therapy. Patient symptoms were recorded using the M.D. Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI). Our primary endpoint was either 10% weight loss or death within 60 days of the start of therapy. Results: Twenty-seven of 89 patients met the primary endpoint (either having lost 10% of body weight or having died within 60 days of the start of treatment). In a univariate analysis, smoking, history symptoms of pain and difficulty swallowing, high levels of MK, CXCL-16, IL-6, TNF-a, and low IL-1b all correlated with this endpoint. We used recursive partition to fit a regression tree model, selecting four of 26 variables (CXCL-16, IL-1b, pain, swallowing difficulty) as important in predicting cachexia. From these, a model of two cytokines (CXCL-16 > 5.135 ng/ml and IL-1b < 0.08 ng/ml) demonstrated a better sensitivity and specificity for this outcome (0.70 and 0.86, respectively) than any individual cytokine or tumor marker. Conclusions: Cachexia is frequent in pancreatic cancer; one in three patients met our endpoint of 10% weight loss or death within 60 days. Inflammatory cytokines are better than conventional tumor markers at predicting this outcome. Recursive partitioning analysis suggests that a model of CXCL-16 and IL-1B may offer a better ability than individual cytokines to predict this outcome.
- Pancreatic cancer
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