Research Papers:

Interleukin-31 and thymic stromal lymphopoietin expression in plasma and lymph node from Hodgkin lymphoma patients

Elisa Ferretti, Stefan Hohaus, Arianna Di Napoli, Beatrice Belmonte, Annarosa Cuccaro, Elisa Cupelli, Eugenio Galli, Vittoria Rufini, Gino Tripodi, Giulio Fraternali-Orcioni, Vito Pistoia and Anna Corcione _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:85263-85275. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19665

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Elisa Ferretti1,*, Stefan Hohaus2,*, Arianna Di Napoli3, Beatrice Belmonte4, Annarosa Cuccaro2, Elisa Cupelli2, Eugenio Galli2, Vittoria Rufini5, Gino Tripodi6, Giulio Fraternali-Orcioni7, Vito Pistoia8,* and Anna Corcione1,*

1Laboratory of Oncology, Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genova, Italy

2Institute of Hematology, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Roma, Italy

3Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Pathology Unit, Sant'Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University, Roma, Italy

4Tumor Immunology Unit, Department of Health Science, Human Pathology Section, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy

5Institute of Nuclear Medicine, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Roma, Italy

6Immunohaematology and Transfusion Centre, Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genova, Italy

7Unit of Pathology, IRCCS Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria San Martino – IST – Istituto Nazionale per la Ricerca sul Cancro, Genova, Italy

8Immunology Research Area, Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù, Roma, Italy

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Anna Corcione, email: [email protected]

Keywords: Hodgkin lymphoma, IL-31, TSLP, cytokine receptors, PET

Received: December 20, 2016     Accepted: May 21, 2017     Published: July 28, 2017


Hodgkin Lymphoma (HL) is a tumor of B-cell origin characterized by Hodgkin and Reed-Stenberg (H/RS) cells embedded in an inflammatory tissue where numerous cytokines/chemokines contribute to shape the microenvironment, leading to the typical clinical symptoms.

We investigated: i) the expression of Interleukin-IL-31 (IL-31) and Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin (TSLP), two Th2-related cytokines with tumor-promoting and pruritogenic functions, and of the respective receptors in HL invaded lymph nodes by flow cytometry, and ii) the potential association of IL-31/TSLP plasma concentrations with clinical characteristics by ELISA.

H/RS cells and the major immune cell types infiltrating HL lymph nodes expressed intracytoplasmic and surface IL-31/TSLP, and their receptors. A subgroup of patients showing at diagnosis elevated IL-31 and TSLP plasma levels had an International Prognostic Score>2, indicative of high risk of relapse, and a subsequent positive interim PET-scan, indicative of insufficient response to chemotherapy. No correlation was found between IL-31/TSLP plasma levels and overall or event-free survival.

In conclusion, IL-31/TSLP and their receptors are expressed in HL cells and in immune cells infiltrating affected lymph nodes, where both cytokines may contribute to local immune suppression. The clinical impact of IL-31 and TSLP plasma levels has to be further defined in larger patient cohorts.

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