Serum retinoic acid, retinol and retinyl palmitate levels in patients with lung cancer
Objectives: Epidemiological studies have shown an inverse relationship between dietary vitamin A intake and the risk of developing lung cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate the vitamin A status in patients with lung cancer, by determining the serum levels of retinoic acid, retinol and retinyl palmitate. Methods: In total, 36 patients with lung cancer and 27 controls were assessed. Of the patients 14 had squamous cell carcinoma, 3 adenocarcinoma, 15 non-small cell lung cancer and 4 small cell lung cancer. Serum retinoic acid, retinol and retinyl palmitate levels were determined with HPLC and UV detection, after liquid extraction. Results: Serum retinol levels did not differ between patients (733.5 +/- 326.4 ng/mL) and controls (734.5 +/- 337.1 ng/mL). The retinyl palmitate concentration tended to be lower in patients (14.3 +/- 9.7 ng/mL) than in controls (16.7 +/- 13.7 ng/mL) The serum retinoic acid levels were significantly lower in patients (1.9 +/- 0.6 ng/mL) than in controls (2.5 +/- 1.1 ng/mL, P < 0.05). A positive correlation was observed between the retinol and retinoic acid levels and retinyl palmitate and retinoic acid levels. Conclusions: The lower levels of retinoic acid in patients with lung cancer suggest there may be a deficiency or impairment in retinol metabolism in these patients. Further studies with larger numbers of patients are needed to evaluate the possible relationship between serum retinoid levels and lung cancer.