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Interleukin 17A and Skin Cancer: A Potential Therapeutic Target?

By: Emily Rhode
Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2021

According to a recent study published in the journal Dermatology Research and Practice, interleukin 17A (IL-17A) may contribute to the growth and progression of non-melanoma skin cancers and potentially represent a therapeutic target in the future. Fattahi et al, of Shiraz Institute for Cancer Research, Iran, analyzed IL-17A levels in the sera of patients with previously untreated non-melanoma skin cancers.

The cross-sectional study included 60 patients with basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas and 57 age/sex-matched individuals with no history of cancer, autoimmune, or genetic disorders. The mean age of the patient group was 67.60 ± 12.82 years, and the male-to-female ratio was 3:1. Squamous cell carcinoma was the most common diagnosis (n = 40, 66.67%). No patients had metastatic lesions.

IL-17A serum levels were measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results showed median levels of IL-17A in patients with skin cancers of 5.89 pg/mL, which significantly differed from the control group levels of 3.30 pg/mL (P > .001). There appeared to be no significant difference in IL-17A serum levels between the two types of skin cancers (P = .793), nor were there significant relationships between IL-17A serum levels and patient age, sex, sun exposure of lesions, number of lesions, or tumor size (P = .286, P = .357, P = .124, P = .667, and P = .769, respectively).

“The definitive aim for cancer immunology research is to achieve a treatment outcome in which IL-17A and other cancer-promoting cytokine signals are blocked…,” the authors wrote. “IL-17A antibodies have already been found to be nontoxic and successful in treating various chronic inflammatory conditions….” The authors acknowledge that further studies are needed to determine whether inhibiting IL-17A can enhance immune therapies for non-melanoma skin cancer. 

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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