Neopterin, a prognostic marker in human malignancies

Robert Sucher, Katharina Schroecksnadel, Guenter Weiss, Raimund Margreiter, Dietmar Fuchs, Gerald Brandacher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Increased neopterin concentrations are established in patients with an activated cellular (= Th1-type) immune response which includes allograft rejection, viral infection and autoimmune disorders as well as various malignant tumors. In patients with several types of cancer, neopterin concentrations in body fluids like urine, serum/plasma or ascites parallel the course of the disease, and a higher neopterin concentration in patients is an independent predictor of a shorter survival period. Neopterin is released in large amounts from human monocyte-derived macrophages and dendritic cells preferentially following stimulation with the pro-inflammatory cytokine interferon-γ, thus reflecting the immune activation status. Therefore, not only as a laboratory diagnostic tool, the measurement of neopterin concentrations allows studying the immunological network and its interaction with the pathogenesis of tumor development. It contributes to a better understanding how immune activation is involved in the development of tumor-induced immune escape and tumor antigen specific tolerance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Macrophages
  • Neopterin
  • Prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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