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Megan Sulciner, MD




Research Fellow




General Surgery Resident, Research Fellow




Megan L. Sulciner MD*, Chandrajit P. Raut MD MSc*, Charles N. Serhan PhD DSc*

Evaluating Failed Resolution of Inflammation Mechanisms as Potential Novel Risk Factors for Stage 3 Colon Cancer Recurrence in Humans

Participating in the WMSS is a unique opportunity, to not only present my research, but to share and receive feedback from fellow women at all academic ranks. This symposium is an opportunity to celebrate our local community’s research and accomplishments as women in the field of medicine and science.

My research interests are to elucidate the inflammatory mechanisms that contribute to surgical diseases, including cancer, and investigate the role of inflammation resolution in postoperative outcomes. I envision my future surgical practice having the ability to translate bench to bedside, in parallel to taking problems from the bedside to the bench.

Background: The resolution of inflammation is the active process of returning to homeostasis after inflammation, mediated by endogenous specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs). Failed inflammation resolution secondary to surgery has been shown to contribute to tumor recurrence in animal models. This pilot study aims to characterize a comprehensive inflammatory profile, including SPMs, correlated with recurrence.  

Methods: Levels of pro-inflammatory and SPMs were quantified via ELISA from BWH GI biobank plasma of stage 3 colon cancer patients. Patient characteristics, oncologic outcomes, and surgical outcomes were analyzed.

Results: Nineteen patients were included, 9 patients with and 10 patients without recurrence. Median SPM resolvin D2 in patients with recurrence (71.3 pg/ml) compared to those without (133.8 pg/ml) was significant (p=0.04). Median SPM resolvin D1 and lipoxin A4 levels were 93.7 pg/ml and 242.3 pg/ml, respectively, in patients with recurrence, and 97.7 pg/ml and 206.2 pg/ml in patients without (p=0.39, p=0.35). Median pro-inflammatory interleukin-6 and leukotriene B4 levels were 10.4 pg/ml and 29.5 pg/ml in patients with recurrence, and 2.6 pg/ml and 27.4 pg/ml in patients without (p=0.36, p=0.47).

Conclusions: Patients with recurrence after primary resection demonstrated a trend of increased pro-inflammatory mediators and diminished SPMs, providing a new mechanism that may contribute to recurrence.