Saf Health Work.  2010 Sep;1(1):69-79.

Serum Levels of Interleukin-8 and Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha in Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis: One-year Follow-up Study

  • 1Occupational Lung Diseases Institute, COMWEL, Ansan, Korea.
  • 2Ansan WCI Hospital, COMWEL, Ansan, Korea.


OBJECTIVES: Various cytokines induced by inhalation of coal dust may mediate inflammation and lead to tissue damage or fibrosis, such as coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP).
To investigate the relevance of serum cytokines in CWP, the levels of serum interleukin-8 (IL-8) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) as CWP biomarkers in 110 retired coal miners (22 controls and 88 CWP subjects) were related to cross sectional findings and 1-year progressive changes of the pneumoconiosis. Progressive changes of CWP were evaluated by paired comparison of chest radiographs. Analysis by a receiver operating characteristic curve assessed the biomarker potential of each cytokine.
The mean serum IL-8 level was significantly higher in CWP compared to controls and IL-8 levels correlated with the degree of CWP. The median serum TNF-alpha level was significantly higher in subjects with progressive CWP compared to subjects without CWP progression. The area under the ROC curve for IL-8 (0.70) and TNF-alpha (0.72) for CWP identification and progression, respectively, indicated the biomarker potential of the two cytokines. Serum cutoff values of IL-8 and TNF-alpha were 11.63 pg/mL (sensitivity, 69%; specificity, 64%) and 4.52 pg/mL (sensitivity, 67%; specificity, 79%), respectively.
The results suggest that high levels of serum IL-8 are associated with the presence of CWP and those of serum TNF-alpha are associated with the progression of CWP.


Anthracosis; Interleukin-8; Tumor necrosis factor-alpha; Receiver operating characteristic; Follow-up
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