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2.  Investigation of Complement Activation Product C4d as a Diagnostic and Prognostic Biomarker for Lung Cancer 
There is a medical need for diagnostic biomarkers in lung cancer. We evaluated the diagnostic performance of complement activation fragments.
We assessed complement activation in four bronchial epithelial and seven lung cancer cell lines. C4d, a degradation product of complement activation, was determined in 90 primary lung tumors; bronchoalveolar lavage supernatants from patients with lung cancer (n = 50) and nonmalignant respiratory diseases (n = 22); and plasma samples from advanced (n = 50) and early lung cancer patients (n = 84) subjects with inflammatory lung diseases (n = 133), and asymptomatic individuals enrolled in a lung cancer computed tomography screening program (n = 190). Two-sided P values were calculated by Mann–Whitney U test.
Lung cancer cells activated the classical complement pathway mediated by C1q binding that was inhibited by phosphomonoesters. Survival was decreased in patients with high C4d deposition in tumors (hazard ratio [HR] = 3.06; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.18 to 7.91). C4d levels were increased in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from lung cancer patients compared with patients with nonmalignant respiratory diseases (0.61±0.87 vs 0.16±0.11 µg/mL; P < .001). C4d levels in plasma samples from lung cancer patients at both advanced and early stages were also increased compared with control subjects (4.13±2.02 vs 1.86±0.95 µg/mL, P < 0.001; 3.18±3.20 vs 1.13±0.69 µg/mL, P < .001, respectively). C4d plasma levels were associated with shorter survival in patients at advanced (HR = 1.59; 95% CI = 0.97 to 2.60) and early stages (HR = 5.57; 95% CI = 1.60 to 19.39). Plasma C4d levels were reduced after surgical removal of lung tumors (P < .001) and were associated with increased lung cancer risk in asymptomatic individuals with (n = 32) or without lung cancer (n = 158) (odds ratio = 4.38; 95% CI = 1.61 to 11.93).
Complement fragment C4d may serve as a biomarker for early diagnosis and prognosis of lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC3776260  PMID: 23940286
3.  Finding the Best Thresholds of FEV1 and Dyspnea to Predict 5-Year Survival in COPD Patients: The COCOMICS Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89866.
FEV1 is universally used as a measure of severity in COPD. Current thresholds are based on expert opinion and not on evidence.
We aimed to identify the best FEV1 (% predicted) and dyspnea (mMRC) thresholds to predict 5-yr survival in COPD patients.
Design and Methods
We conducted a patient-based pooled analysis of eleven COPD Spanish cohorts (COCOMICS). Survival analysis, ROC curves, and C-statistics were used to identify and compare the best FEV1 (%) and mMRC scale thresholds that predict 5-yr survival.
A total of 3,633 patients (93% men), totaling 15,878 person-yrs. were included, with a mean age 66.4±9.7, and predicted FEV1 of 53.8% (±19.4%). Overall 975 (28.1%) patients died at 5 years. The best thresholds that spirometrically split the COPD population were: mild ≥70%, moderate 56–69%, severe 36–55%, and very severe ≤35%. Survival at 5 years was 0.89 for patients with FEV1≥70 vs. 0.46 in patients with FEV1 ≤35% (H.R: 6; 95% C.I.: 4.69–7.74). The new classification predicts mortality significantly better than dyspnea (mMRC) or FEV1 GOLD and BODE cutoffs (all p<0.001). Prognostic reliability is maintained at 1, 3, 5, and 10 years. In younger patients, survival was similar for FEV1 (%) values between 70% and 100%, whereas in the elderly the relationship between FEV1 (%) and mortality was inversely linear.
The best thresholds for 5-yr survival were obtained stratifying FEV1 (%) by ≥70%, 56–69%, 36–55%, and ≤35%. These cutoffs significantly better predict mortality than mMRC or FEV1 (%) GOLD and BODE cutoffs.
PMCID: PMC3937394  PMID: 24587085
4.  New GOLD classification: longitudinal data on group assignment 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):3.
Little is known about the longitudinal changes associated with using the 2013 update of the multidimensional GOLD strategy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
To determine the COPD patient distribution of the new GOLD proposal and evaluate how this classification changes over one year compared with the previous GOLD staging based on spirometry only.
We analyzed data from the CHAIN study, a multicenter observational Spanish cohort of COPD patients who are monitored annually. Categories were defined according to the proposed GOLD: FEV1%, mMRC dyspnea, COPD Assessment Test (CAT), Clinical COPD Questionnaire (CCQ), and exacerbations-hospitalizations. One-year follow-up information was available for all variables except CCQ data.
At baseline, 828 stable COPD patients were evaluated. On the basis of mMRC dyspnea versus CAT, the patients were distributed as follows: 38.2% vs. 27.2% in group A, 17.6% vs. 28.3% in group B, 15.8% vs. 12.9% in group C, and 28.4% vs. 31.6% in group D. Information was available for 526 patients at one year: 64.2% of patients remained in the same group but groups C and D show different degrees of variability. The annual progression by group was mainly associated with one-year changes in CAT scores (RR, 1.138; 95%CI: 1.074-1.206) and BODE index values (RR, 2.012; 95%CI: 1.487-2.722).
In the new GOLD grading classification, the type of tool used to determine the level of symptoms can substantially alter the group assignment. A change in category after one year was associated with longitudinal changes in the CAT and BODE index.
PMCID: PMC3900265  PMID: 24417879
COPD; GOLD; Longitudinal
5.  Epicardial Adipose Tissue in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65593.
Epicardial Adipose Tissue (EAT) volume as determined by chest computed tomography (CT) is an independent marker of cardiovascular events in the general population. COPD patients have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, however nothing is known about the EAT volume in this population.
To assess EAT volume in COPD and explore its association with clinical and physiological variables of disease severity.
We measured EAT using low-dose CT in 171 stable COPD patients and 70 controls matched by age, smoking history and BMI. We determined blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and HbA1c levels, microalbuminuria, lung function, BODE index, co-morbidity index and coronary artery calcium score (CAC). EAT volume were compared between groups. Uni and multivariate analyses explored the relationship between EAT volume and the COPD related variables.
COPD patients had a higher EAT volume [143.7 (P25–75, 108.3–196.6) vs 129.1 (P25–75, 91.3–170.8) cm3, p = 0.02)] and the EAT volume was significantly associated with CAC (r = 0.38, p<0.001) and CRP (r = 0.32, p<0.001) but not with microalbuminuria (r = 0.12, p = 0.13). In COPD patients, EAT volume was associated with: age, pack-years, BMI, gender, FEV1%, 6 MWD, MMRC and HTN. Multivariate analysis showed that only pack-years (B = 0.6, 95% CI: 0.5–1.3), BMI (B = 7.8, 95% CI: 5.7–9.9) and 6 MWD (B = −0.2, 95% CI: −0.3–−0.1), predicted EAT volume.
EAT volume is increased in COPD patients and is independently associated with smoking history, BMI and exercise capacity, all modifiable risk factors of future cardiovascular events. EAT volume could be a non-invasive marker of COPD patients at high risk for future cardiovascular events.
PMCID: PMC3675061  PMID: 23762399
6.  Smokers with CT Detected Emphysema and No Airway Obstruction Have Decreased Plasma Levels of EGF, IL-15, IL-8 and IL-1ra 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60260.
Low-grade inflammation and emphysema have been shown to be associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. However, the systemic inflammatory response in patients with emphysema is still unknown.
To compare the plasma cytokine profiles in two groups of current or former smokers without airway obstruction: a control group of individuals without computed tomography (CT) detected emphysema vs. a study group of individuals with CT detected emphysema.
Subjects underwent a chest CT, spirometry, and determination of EGF, IL-15, IL-1ra, IL-8, MCP-1, MIP-1β, TGFα, TNFα, and VEGF levels in plasma. Cytokine levels in each group were compared adjusting for confounding factors.
160 current smokers and former smokers without airway obstruction participated in the study: 80 without emphysema and 80 subjects with emphysema. Adjusted group comparisons revealed significant reductions in EGF (−0.317, p = 0.01), IL-15 (−0.21, p = 0.01), IL-8 (−0.180, p = 0.02) and IL-1ra (−0.220, p = 0.03) in subjects with emphysema and normal spirometry.
Current or former smokers expressing a well-defined disease characteristic such as emphysema, has a specific plasma cytokine profile. This includes a decrease of cytokines mainly implicated in activation of apoptosis or decrease of immunosurveillance. This information should be taken into account when evaluated patients with tobacco respiratory diseases.
PMCID: PMC3618450  PMID: 23577098
7.  Inflammatory and repair serum biomarker pattern. Association to clinical outcomes in COPD 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):71.
The relationship between serum biomarkers and clinical expressions of COPD is limited. We planned to further describe this association using markers of inflammation and injury and repair.
We studied lung function, comorbidities, exercise tolerance, BODE index, and quality of life in 253 COPD patients and recorded mortality over three years. Serum levels of Interleukins 6,8 and16, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF α) [inflammatory panel], vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) [injury and repair panel] and pulmonary and activation-regulated chemokine (PARC/CCL-18) and monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1/CCL2) [chemoattractant panel] were measured. We related the pattern of the biomarker levels to minimal clinically important differences (MCID) using a novel visualization method [ObServed Clinical Association Results (OSCAR) plot].
Levels of the inflammatory markers IL-6, TNF α were higher and those of injury and repair lower (p < 0.01) with more advanced disease (GOLD 1 vs. 4). Using the OSCAR plot, we found that patients in the highest quartile of inflammatory and lowest quartile of injury and repair biomarkers level were more clinically compromised and had higher mortality (p < 0.05).
In COPD, serum biomarkers of inflammation and repair are distinctly associated with important clinical parameters and survival.
PMCID: PMC3493287  PMID: 22906131
Exercise; Inflammation; Phenotypes; Repair; Survival
8.  TNFA-863 polymorphism is associated with a reduced risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A replication study 
BMC Medical Genetics  2011;12:132.
TNF-α mediated inflammation is thought to play a key role in the respiratory and systemic features of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. The aim of the present study was to replicate and extend recent findings in Taiwanese and Caucasian populations of associations between COPD susceptibility and variants of the TNFA gene in a Spanish cohort.
The 3 reported SNPs were complemented with nine tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) of the TNFA and LTA genes and genotyped in 724 individuals (202 COPD patients, 90 smokers without COPD and 432 healthy controls). Pulmonary function parameters and serum inflammatory markers were also measured in COPD patients.
The TNFA rs1800630 (-863C/A) SNP was associated with a lower COPD susceptibility (ORadj = 0.50, 95% CI = 0.33-0.77, p = 0.001). The -863A allele was also associated with less severe forms of the disease (GOLD stages I and II) (ORadj = 0.303, 95%CI = 0.14-0.65, p = 0.014) and with lower scores of the BODE index (< 2) (ORadj = 0.40, 95%CI = 0.17-0.94, p = 0.037). Moreover, the -863A carrier genotype was associated with a better FEV1 percent predicted (p = 0.004) and a lower BODE index (p = 0.003) over a 2 yrs follow-up period. None of the TNFA or LTA gene variants correlated with the serum inflammatory markers in COPD patients (p > 0.05).
We replicated the previously reported association between the TNFA -863 SNP and COPD. TNFA -863A allele may confer a protective effect to the susceptibility to the disease in the Spanish population.
PMCID: PMC3209447  PMID: 21985478
9.  Gender Differences in Plasma Biomarker Levels in a Cohort of COPD Patients: A Pilot Study 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e16021.
Little is known about gender differences in plasma biomarker levels in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
There are differences in serum biomarker levels between women and men with COPD.
Explore gender differences in plasma biomarker levels in patients with COPD and smokers without COPD.
We measured plasma levels of IL-6, IL-8, IL-16, MCP-1, MMP-9, PARC and VEGF in 80 smokers without COPD (40 males, 40 females) and 152 stable COPD patients (76 males, 76 females) with similar airflow obstruction. We determined anthropometrics, smoking history, lung function, exercise tolerance, body composition, BODE index, co-morbidities and quality of life. We then explored associations between plasma biomarkers levels and the clinical characteristics of the patients and also with the clinical and physiological variables known to predict outcome in COPD.
The plasma biomarkers level explored were similar in men and women without COPD. In contrast, in patients with COPD the median value in pg/mL of IL-6 (6.26 vs 8.0, p = 0.03), IL-16 (390 vs 321, p = 0.009) and VEGF (50 vs 87, p = 0.02) differed between women and men. Adjusted for smoking history, gender was independently associated with IL-16, PARC and VEGF levels. There were also gender differences in the associations between IL-6, IL-16 and VEGF and physiologic variables that predict outcomes.
In stable COPD patients with similar airflow obstruction, there are gender differences in plasma biomarker levels and in the association between biomarker levels and important clinical or physiological variables. Further studies should confirm our findings.
PMCID: PMC3022655  PMID: 21267454
10.  COPD heterogeneity: Gender differences in the multidimensional BODE index 
The BODE index was recently validated as a multidimensional tool for the evaluation of patients with COPD. The influence of gender on the BODE index has not been studied.
The contribution of each component of the disease to the BODE index may differ according to gender.
We evaluated age, forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), Modified Medical Research Council (MMRC) score, 6-min walk distance (6MWD), and body mass index (BMI) in 52 men and 52 women with COPD and the same BODE index. We compared the studied parameters between men and women and then performed a multiple regression analysis by gender.
We found statistically significant differences between men and women in all parameters: FEV1 % (55 ± 17 vs 63 ± 18, p < 0.001), MMRC [1 (0–2) vs 1 (1–2) p = 0.03], BMI [28 (26–30) vs 25 (22–30), p = 0.05], and 6MWD [546 (451–592) vs 462 (419–520), p = 0.001]. Multiple regression analysis revealed that each component of the BODE index had different weight (β standardized coefficient) in men and women respectively: FEV1% (0.74 vs 0.62), MMRC (0.31 vs 0.48), BMI (−0.09 vs −0.17), and 6MWD (0.13 vs 0.10).
The contribution of each component to the BODE index differs by gender in subjects with similar BODE scores. Long term longitudinal studies will help determine the significance of our findings.
PMCID: PMC2695614  PMID: 18044687
Gender; COPD; BODE index
11.  Gender and respiratory factors associated with dyspnea in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Respiratory Research  2007;8(1):18.
We had shown that COPD women expressed more dyspnea than men for the same degree of airway obstruction.
Evaluate gender differences in respiratory factors associated with dyspnea in COPD patients.
In a FEV1 % matched population of 100 men and women with COPD we measured: age, MMRC, FEV1, FVC, TLC, IC/TLC, PaO2, PaCO2, DLCO, Pimax, P0.1, Ti/Ttot, BMI, ffmi, 6MWD and VAS scale before and after the test, the Charlson score and the SGRQ. We estimated the association between these parameters and MMRC scores. Multivariate analysis determined the independent strength of those associations.
MMRC correlated with: BMI (men:-0.29, p = 0.04; women:-0.28, p = 0.05), ffmi (men:-0.39, p = 0.01), FEV1 % (men:-0.64, p < 0.001; women:-0.29, p = 0.04), FVC % (men:-0.45, p = 0.001; women:-0.33, p = 0.02), IC/TLC (men:-0.52, p < 0.001; women: -0.27, p = 0.05), PaO2 (men:-0.59, p < 0.001), PaCO2 (men:0.27, p = 0.05), DLCO (men:-0.54, p < 0.001), P0.1/Pimax (men:0.46, p = 0.002; women:0.47, p = 0.005), dyspnea measured with the Visual Analog Scale before (men:0.37, p = 0.04; women:0.52, p = 0.004) and after 6MWD (men:0.52, p = 0.002; women:0.48, p = 0.004) and SGRQ total (men:0.50, p < 0.001; women:0.59, p < 0.001). Regression analysis showed that P0.1/Pimax in women (r2 = 0.30) and BMI, DLCO, PaO2 and P0.1/Pimax in men (r2 = 0.81) were the strongest predictors of MMRC scores.
In mild to severe COPD patients attending a pulmonary clinic, P0.1/Pimax was the unique predictor of MMRC scores only in women. Respiratory factors explain most of the variations of MMRC scores in men but not in women. Factors other than the respiratory ones should be included in the evaluation of dyspnea in women with COPD.
PMCID: PMC1821020  PMID: 17341300
12.  Gender associated differences in determinants of quality of life in patients with COPD: a case series study 
The influence of gender on the expression of COPD has received limited attention. Quality of Life (QoL) has become an important outcome in COPD patients. The aim of our study was to explore factors contributing to gender differences in Quality of Life of COPD patients.
In 146 men and women with COPD from a pulmonary clinic we measured: Saint George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), age, smoking history, PaO2, PaCO2, FEV1, FVC, IC/TLC, FRC, body mass index (BMI), 6 minute walk distance (6MWD), dyspnea (modified MRC), degree of comorbidity (Charlson index) and exacerbations in the previous year. We explored differences between genders using Mann-Whitney U-rank test. To investigate the main determinants of QoL, a multiple lineal regression analysis was performed using backward Wald's criteria, with those variables that significantly correlated with SGRQ total scores.
Compared with men, women had worse scores in all domains of the SGRQ (total 38 vs 26, p = 0.01, symptoms 48 vs 39, p = 0.03, activity 53 vs 37, p = 0.02, impact 28 vs 15, p = 0.01). SGRQ total scores correlated in men with: FEV1% (-0.378, p < 0.001), IC/TLC (-0.368, p = 0.002), PaO2 (-0.379, p = 0.001), PaCO2 (0.256, p = 0.05), 6MWD (-0.327, p = 0.005), exacerbations (0.366, p = 0.001), Charlson index (0.380, p = 0.001) and MMRC (0.654, p < 0.001). In women, the scores correlated only with FEV1% (-0.293, p = 0.013) PaO2 (-0.315, p = 0.007), exacerbations (0.290, p = 0.013) and MMRC (0.628, p < 0.001). Regression analysis (B, 95% CI) showed that exercise capacity (0.05, 0.02 to 0.09), dyspnea (17.6, 13.4 to 21.8), IC/TLC (-51.1, -98.9 to -3.2) and comorbidity (1.7, 0.84 to 2.53) for men and dyspnea (9.7, 7.3 to 12.4) and oxygenation (-0.3, -0.6 to -0.01) for women manifested the highest independent associations with SGRQ scores.
In moderate to severe COPD patients attending a pulmonary clinic, there are gender differences in health status scores. In turn, the clinical and physiological variables independently associated with those scores differed in men and women. Attention should be paid to the determinants of QoL scores in women with COPD.
PMCID: PMC1592076  PMID: 17007639

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