Alteration of hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis function in non-small-cell lung cancer patients

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The aim of this study was to evaluate the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis function in patients suffering from lung cancer. Thyrotropin- releasing hormone (TRH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxine (FT4), interleukin (IL)-2, and melatonin serum levels were measured in blood samples collected every 4 hours for 24 hours from 11 healthy participants (H; ages 35-53 years) and 9 patients suffering from non-small-cell lung cancer (C; ages 43-63 years). Relationships between hormone levels overall and over time of day were evaluated within and among groups. A prominent circadian rhythm with peaks near midnight was present for TSH and melatonin serum levels in both H and C, indicating similar synchronization of the main body clock to the 24-hour environmental light-dark cycle. As regards 24-hour means in H and C, TSH was lower in C, whereas TRH, FT4, and IL-2 were higher in C, with no difference in melatonin levels. Simple linear regression, FT4 versus TRH, showed a positive correlation in H and a negative correlation in C, whereas FT4 versus TSH showed a negative correlation in both groups. For FT4 versus IL-2, a negative correlation was found in C but not for H, whereas TSH versus TRH showed no correlation for either group. Both groups were found to be similarly synchronized to the 24-hour sleep-wake schedule, but HPT axis function was altered in patients suffering from lung cancer. When compared with healthy controls, cancer patients showed modifications of hormone serum levels overall and a negative correlation between individual TRH and FT4 levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-336
Number of pages10
JournalIntegrative Cancer Therapies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • circadian rhythm
  • hypothalamus-hypophysis-thyroid axis
  • lung cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Oncology


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