Plasma sICAM-1 correlates with tumor volume before primary radiochemotherapy of HNSCC patients


  • Kerstin Clasen Dr.
  • Franziska Eckert
  • Stefan Welz
  • Heidrun Faltin
  • Daniel Zips



Biomarkers are of major interest to optimize diagnosis, prognosis and to guide treatment in head and neck cancer patients. Especially blood-based biomarkers appear promising as they can be easily collected and repeatedly analysed during the course of radiochemotherapy.


Material and Methods

At first, for a broad overview, multiple immune markers were evaluated in six plasma samples of three patients at the beginning and the end of radiochemotherapy. In this pre-selection, the soluble Intercellular Adhesion Molecule 1 (sICAM-1) appeared most promising. Thus, this marker was measured in multiple samples (n=86) during treatment and follow-up in a cohort of eleven patients and correlated with tumor features and clinical data.



We found a strong correlation between the initial levels of sICAM-1 in the plasma and the gross tumor volumes of the primary tumor and the involved lymph nodes. However, during the course of treatment not systematic dynamics could be identified. Toxicity or infections did not seem to influence sICAM-1 concentrations.



sICAM-1 appears to reflect the pre-treatment total tumor burden (primary tumor and involved lymph nodes) in head and neck tumor patients. However, it does not seem to be a dynamic marker reflecting response during radiochemotherapy. Thus, if our findings are confirmed in future, sICAM-1 could be used as a staging marker: if high sICAM-1 levels but low tumor burden are found it might be reasonable to intensify staging investigations to rule out further, yet undetected, tumor sites.




How to Cite

Clasen, K., Eckert, F., Welz, S., Faltin, H., & Zips, D. (2022). Plasma sICAM-1 correlates with tumor volume before primary radiochemotherapy of HNSCC patients. Radiology and Oncology, 56(4), 501–507. Retrieved from



Clinical oncology