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Cancers 2010, 2(3), 1453-1491; doi:10.3390/cancers2031453
Review

YKL-40—A Protein in the Field of Translational Medicine: A Role as a Biomarker in Cancer Patients?

1
 and
2,3,*
1 Departments of Surgical Gastroenterology, Herlev Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Herlev Ringvej 75, DK-2730 Herlev, Denmark 2 Departments of Oncology, Herlev Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Herlev Ringvej 75, DK-2730 Herlev, Denmark 3 Departments of Medicine, Herlev Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Herlev Ringvej 75, DK-2730 Herlev, Denmark
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 May 2010 / Revised: 1 July 2010 / Accepted: 9 July 2010 / Published: 12 July 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomarkers: Oncology Studies)
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Abstract

YKL-40 is a 40 kDa glycoprotein produced by cancer cells, inflammatory cells and stem cells. It probably has a role in cell proliferation and differentiation, inflammation, protection against apoptosis, stimulation of angiogenesis, and regulation of extracellular tissue remodelling. Plasma levels of YKL-40 are often elevated in patients with localized or advanced cancer compared to age-matched healthy subjects. Several studies have demonstrated that high plasma YKL-40 is an independent prognostic biomarker of short survival in patients with different types of cancer. However, there is not yet sufficient data to support determination of plasma YKL-40 outside research projects as a biomarker for screening of gastrointestinal cancer and determination of treatment response and poor prognosis before or during treatment and follow-up. Plasma YKL-40 is also elevated in patients with other diseases than cancer, e.g., severe infections, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive lung disease, asthma, liver fibrosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Co-morbidity should therefore always be considered in patients with cancer, since other sources than cancer cells can increase plasma YKL-40 levels. Future focused translational research projects combining basic and clinical research are needed in a joint effort to answer questions of the complex function and regulation of YKL-40 and the question if plasma YKL-40 is a clinical useful biomarker in patients with cancer.
Keywords: biomarker; cancer; CHI3L1; inflammation; YKL-40; tissue remodelling biomarker; cancer; CHI3L1; inflammation; YKL-40; tissue remodelling
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Schultz, N.A.; Johansen, J.S. YKL-40—A Protein in the Field of Translational Medicine: A Role as a Biomarker in Cancer Patients? Cancers 2010, 2, 1453-1491.

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