Background: Complex local and systemic immune dysfunction in glioblastoma (GBM) may affect survival. Interleukin (IL)-6 and YKL-40 are pleiotropic biomarkers present in the tumor microenvironment and involved in immune regulation. We therefore analyzed plasma IL-6, YKL-40, and genetic variation in YKL-40 and explored their ability to distinguish between glioma subtypes and predict survival in GBM. Methods: One hundred fifty-eight patients with glioma WHO grade II-IV were included in the study. Plasma collected at surgery was analyzed for IL-6 and YKL-40 (CHI3L1) by ELISA. CHI3L1 rs4950928 genotyping was analyzed on whole-blood DNA. Results: Neither plasma IL-6 nor YKL-40 corrected for age or rs4950928 genotype could differentiate GBM from lower grade gliomas. GC and GG rs4950928 genotype were associated with lower plasma YKL-40 levels (CC vs. GC, p = 0.0019; CC vs. GG, p = 0.01). Only 10 and 14 out of 94 patients with newly diagnosed GBM had elevated IL-6 or YKL-40, respectively. Most patients received corticosteroid treatment at time of blood-sampling. Higher pretreatment plasma IL-6 was associated with short overall survival (OS) [HR = 1.19 (per 2-fold change), p = 0.042] in univariate analysis. The effect disappeared in multivariate analysis. rs4950928 genotype did not associate with OS [HR = 1.30, p = 0.30]. In recurrent GBM, higher YKL-40 [HR = 2.12 (per 2-fold change), p = 0.0005] but not IL-6 [HR = 0.99 (per 2-fold change), p = 0.92] were associated with short OS in univariate analysis. Conclusion: In recurrent GBM high plasma YKL-40 may hold promise as a prognostic marker. In newly diagnosed GBM perioperative plasma IL-6, YKL-40, and genetic variation in YKL-40 did not associate with survival. Corticosteroid use may complicate interpretation of results.
- immune dysfunction