Background: Granulysin is a cytolytic molecule present in human cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cell granules, and plays a key role in the cell-mediated immunity against tumor and infection. However, few studies have estimated serum granulysin concentrations in patients with solid or hematological malignancies.
Methods: Peripheral blood samples were taken from patients with gastric carcinoma preoperatively and from healthy volunteers. Serum and tumor tissue granulysin concentrations were measured using a granulysin-specific ELISA kit in order to assess its prognostic value.
Results: Both serum and tumor tissue granulysin concentrations were higher in patients with stage II or III gastric cancer and lower in patients with stage IV disease as compared to healthy controls. The low preoperative granulysin levels were associated with more frequent hepatic and peritoneal metastases, and with a poor outcome of the curative gastrectomy.
Conclusions: Preoperative serum granulysin levels reflect the status of cell-mediated immunity in patients with gastric carcinoma. It has significance as a prognostic determinant following a curative resection.