Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 29, Issue 4–5, pp 455–464 | Cite as

Prospective evaluation of serum IL-16 and risk of prostate cancer in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial

  • Amy Moore
  • Wen-Yi Huang
  • Kim Danforth
  • Roni Falk
  • Allison Meade
  • Rachel Bagni
  • Sonja I. Berndt
Original paper



Sexually transmitted infections and chronic inflammation have been associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. Inflammatory mediators, such as cytokines and free radicals, have been hypothesized to play a role.


To explore the role of inflammation in prostate cancer risk further, we examined the association between pre-diagnostic serum levels of interleukin-16 (IL-16), an important pleiotropic cytokine, and prostate cancer risk among 932 Caucasian cases and 942 controls and 154 African-American cases and 302 controls in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Serum IL-16 was quantified using enzyme-linked immunoassay. Logistic regression was used to estimate associations between IL-16 and prostate cancer risk, separately by race.


Although no association between IL-16 and prostate cancer overall was observed among Caucasians (p = 0.27), a significantly increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer, defined as Gleason ≥ 7 (phet = 0.02), was observed with increasing levels of IL-16 (OR3rd vs. 1st tertile = 1.37, 95% CI 1.04–1.81, ptrend = 0.02). We also discovered a significant interaction between IL-16 and history of gonorrhea (p = 0.04). Among Caucasian men with a history of gonorrhea, elevated IL-16 levels were associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer (OR3rd vs. 1st tertile = 3.64, 95% CI 1.14–11.6) but no association was seen among those without a history of gonorrhea (OR3rd vs. 1st tertile = 1.06, 95% CI 0.83–1.34). No associations were observed among African-Americans.


This study found evidence that higher pre-diagnostic IL-16 levels may be associated with increased risk of high-grade disease, supporting inflammation as potential mechanism by which sexually transmitted diseases may increase risk.


Interleukin-16 Prostate cancer Risk factors Cytokines Inflammation 



This study was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Supplementary material

10552_2018_1012_MOESM1_ESM.xls (29 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLS 29 KB)


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Cancer Epidemiology and GeneticsNational Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Research and EvaluationKaiser Permanente Southern CaliforniaPasadenaUSA
  3. 3.Protein Expression Laboratory, Cancer Research and Technology ProgramFrederick National Laboratory for Cancer ResearchFrederickUSA

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