BACKGROUND Syndecan-1 (CD138) is expressed by the Hodgkin-Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells of classic Hodgkin's lymphoma (cHL), but not in nodular lymphocyte-predominant HL. Syndecan-1 may be involved in the interaction between HRS cells and the cellular and stromal microenvironment typical of nodular sclerosing HL. PATIENTS AND METHODS Serum levels of soluble syndecan-1 were determined by ELISA in 66 patients with HL and 14 age- and sex-matched healthy individuals. RESULTS The levels of syndecan-1 were higher in HL patients than controls (100.2 +/- 35.9 ng/ml vs. 67.9 +/- 24.5 ng/ml, p < 0.001). They marginally correlated with advanced age (p = 0.06), male gender (p = 0.07) and consequently high IPS (p = 0.01), but did not correlate with markers of tumor burden and prognosis, including serum interleukin-10 and soluble CD30. At 6 years, failure-free survival was 70 +/- 9% vs. 50 +/- 11% (p = 0.32) for patients with serum soluble syndecan-1 levels above or below the observed median value of 91 ng/ml. CONCLUSION The serum levels of syndecan-1 were elevated in patients with HL, but were not strongly correlated with other potential prognostic factors. Their effect on prognosis deserves further evaluation.


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