Tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase 5a (TRACP5a) is mainly secreted by activated macrophages in chronic inflammation. Serum TRACP5a is associated with symptom distress in lung cancer patients during chemotherapy. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate whether chemotherapy drugs modulate TRACP5a as an inducible marker for symptom distress in lung cancer patients during chemotherapy. In clinical analysis, lung cancer participants completely received the six-cycle chemotherapy process (n = 42). Clinical determinations for TRACP5a, C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), white blood cells, monocytes, and hemoglobin were analyzed at six time points: BL, C1d8, C2d1, C4d1, C4d8, and Ed28. Meanwhile, five questionnaires for fatigue, sleep disturbance, pain, depression, and confusion were finished before drug treatment. For monocyte-to-macrophage differentiation, THP-1 cells were treated with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). TRACP5a secretion in THP-1 cells was determined at the following days up to 6 days after 1-day incubation of chemotherapy drugs by dot blotting. Clinical analysis revealed that TRACP5a significantly increased at C1d8 and C4d8, but dropped at C2d1 and Ed28. CRP and IL-6 displayed a broad-range variation, resulting in no significant difference among the assessment time points. In contrast, monocytes decreased at C1d8 and C4d8, but rose again at C2d1 and Ed28. In symptom distress, the changes only in fatigue and sleep disturbance were positively associated with the trend in TRACP5a. In PMA-treated THP-1 cells, TRACP5a significantly increased after stimulation with gemcitabine and paclitaxel. Taken together, induction of TRACP5a by chemotherapy drugs might be generated from monocyte-differentiated macrophages, further causing clinical symptom distress in lung cancer patients.
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