To determine whether levels of mammalian bombesin (MB) or calcitonin would be useful in detecting CNS metastases in patients with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), we measured their concentrations in the CSF of 94 patients who underwent lumbar puncture for suspected CNS involvement. The MB concentration was significantly elevated in the 51 patients with definite CNS metastases as compared with the 30 patients without apparent CNS involvement (P < .01). This significance was due to increased levels of MB in 18 patients with meningeal carcinomatosis. Whereas CSF MB was detectable (> 10 fmol/mL) in only 7% of patients without apparent CNS involvement, CSF MB was detectable in 21% with parenchymal CNS metastases and in 78% of those with meningeal carcinomatosis. Interestingly, 93% of patients having MB concentrations above 20 fmol/mL had meningeal metastases. The calcitonin concentration was significantly elevated in 42 patients with CNS metastases as compared with 27 patients without CNS involvement (P < .01). Both the 15 patients with meningeal carcinomatosis and the 27 patients with only parenchymal metastases had significantly elevated levels of CSF calcitonin as compared with those without CNS metastases. Fifty-three percent of patients with meningeal carcinomatosis and 48% with parenchymal metastases had a CSF calcitonin level above 18 fmol/mL, whereas only 7% without apparent CNS metastases exceeded this level. Sixty-seven percent of all patients with CNS metastases had increased CSF levels of one of the two hormonal markers. Thus, in SCLC patients, an elevated CSF calcitonin strongly suggested CNS metastases and an elevated MB was very suggestive of the presence of meningeal carcinomatosis. However, only the latter observation seems of clinical importance due to the difficulties in establishing this diagnosis with current diagnostic measures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research