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Posted by on Feb 8, 2016 in Breast cancer | 12 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated the relationship between lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels and cancer-specific survival.

Researchers concluded that LDH can be used as an early indicator of cancer outcomes.

Some background

Early cancer detection methods have significantly improved cancer survival rates. There is increasing evidence to suggest that high levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in the blood could be a good indicator of cancer development and progression. LDH levels become elevated when cells and tissues are damaged, and are particularly high during active tumor progression into various internal organs. However, a direct link between early LDH levels and cancer survival has not yet been fully investigated.

Methods & findings

A total of 7,895 cancer patients were included in this study, including 2018 breast cancer patients. Serum LDH levels were recorded in each person within three years before cancer diagnosis (as part of a general health check-up). Health outcomes were analyzed over an average follow-up of 8 years. Over the time of the study, 5,799 patients (74%) deceased.

After accounting for multiple factors (such as age, cancer stage, and additional medical conditions), patients with elevated LDH before cancer diagnosis showed an 85% increased mortality risk due to cancer-related causes, compared with patients with low LDH before diagnosis. Elevated LDH was also associated with a 78% increased risk of early mortality from any cause (cancer-related or other). LDH levels measured closer in time to cancer diagnosis (within one year before diagnosis) were a particularly reliable predictor of premature mortality.

Analysis also showed that specific cancer site affected health outcome. A higher mortality risk was noted with high LDH in patients diagnosed with prostate, skin, colorectal, lung, stomach, breast, hematological (blood), and gynecological (ovary, cervical, uterus) cancers.

Among breast cancer patients, high LDH levels before diagnosis were associated with a 54% increased risk of cancer-related mortality, and a 73% increased risk of all-cause mortality, compared to breast cancer patients with normal LDH levels before diagnosis.

The bottom line

Researchers concluded that early LDH levels can be a strong predictor of cancer survival.

The fine print

The study provided no information regarding cancer treatments received, which might have significantly influenced results.

Published By :

British Journal of Cancer

Date :

Nov 03, 2015

Original Title :

Serum lactate dehydrogenase and survival following cancer diagnosis.

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