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Correspondence: Dr Fawwaz Shakir Al-Joudi, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction Decreased serum albumin (SA) levels have been used extensively as prognostic indicators in many chronic debilitating diseases. The decrease may be partly compensated by globular proteins. The failure of globulins to compensate may reflect advanced disease. We examined the prognostic value of the level of serum globulins in colorectal and breast cancers.
Methods Data of 80 patients with advanced colon and breast cancers were analysed. Of these, 46 patients died within six months of measurement of their serum proteins, and the rest were followed-up for more than six months after measurements of their serum proteins were taken. A mathematical formula, representing the globulin compensation index (GCI), was recently developed from the measured SA levels and globulins. Patients were then classified into three categories: negative GCI and negative compensation; GCI of 0 to less than 1.0 with partial compensation; and GCI equal or greater than 1.0 with full compensation.
Results Among the deceased patients, 45.7 percent had negative GCI, compared to 26.5 percent of patients in the survivors group. For partial compensation, 30.4 percent of patients were from the deceased group, and 32.4 percent were from the survivors group. For full compensation (elevated GCI), 23.9 percent of patients were from the deceased group, compared to 41.1 percent from the survivors group (p-value equals 0.031).
Conclusion Patients with low GCI are more likely to have bad prognoses, whereas those with higher GCI have more favourable prognoses. Globulin compensation may be a reliable prognostic factor in advanced colorectal and breast cancers, and possibly in other chronic illnesses. The GCI may serve as a useful tool in the measurement of this compensation.
Keywords: breast cancer, colon cancer, globulin compensation index, serum albumin, serum globulin
Singapore Med J 2005; 46(12): 710-713