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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effect of blood transfusion during radiotherapy on the immune function of patients with cancer of the uterine cervix: role of interleukin-10.

PURPOSE: To analyze prospectively the effects of blood transfusion administered during radiotherapy (RT) on the immune function of patients with locally advanced cervical cancer. METHODS AND MATERIALS: In a total of 15 patients, 7 transfused and 8 untransfused, lymphocyte populations, including CD3+, CD4+, and CD8+ T-cell subsets, B cells (CD19+), and natural killer (NK) cells (CD56+, CD16+, CD3-) were studied before (i.e., time 0), during (i.e., times 1 and 2), and after (i.e., time 3) therapy. Expression of the early (CD25) and late (HLA-DR) activation markers on CD3+ T cells, the intracellular levels of perforin in CD8+ and CD56+ cells, and interferon (IFN)-gamma, interleukin (IL)-2, and IL-4 in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were also measured. NK cell cytotoxicity against the NK-sensitive target K-562 cells and CD8+ T-cell-directed cytotoxicity against OKT3 hybridoma cells were also assessed. Finally, the plasma levels of the immunoregulatory cytokine IL-10 were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. RESULTS: The mean absolute number of all lymphocyte subsets compared with pretreatment levels decreased significantly during RT of both transfused and untransfused patients (p >0.001), with no detectable differences between the two groups in terms of total lymphocytes or relative numbers of CD3+ and CD4+ T cells, CD56+ NK cells, or CD19+ B cells. In contrast, concomitant with an inversion of the CD4/CD8 ratio, a significant increase in the number of CD8+ T cells at time 2 and CD3+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, and NK cells at time 3 was found in the transfused patients compared with the untransfused group. The percentages of CD25+/CD3+ T cells and HLA-DR+/CD3+ T cells increased during RT of the untransfused patients, but CD3+ T cells showed decreased CD25 expression and increased HLA-DR expression in the transfused group. An increase of CD8+ IFN-gamma+ T cells with a concomitant decrease in CD8+ IL-2+ T cells was found in the transfused vs. untransfused group, and no differences were noted in the percentage of CD4+ IFN-gamma+ T cells and CD4+ IL-2+ T cells. The proportion of perforin-positive CD8+ and CD56+ cells was higher in the transfused group than in the untransfused group. However, CD56+ cells and CD8+ T cells from the transfused patients showed markedly diminished cytotoxic function. Finally, IL-10 was detected only in the plasma of the transfused patients. CONCLUSION: Blood transfusion during primary RT for cervical cancer profoundly alters the magnitude and characteristics of radiation-induced immunosuppression. Elevated serum IL-10 in transfused patients may play a role in the disregulation of lymphocyte function, in particular, the depression of NK- and T-cell cytotoxicity. Investigation of alternatives to blood transfusion during RT that do not diminish host immunity is warranted.[1]


  1. Effect of blood transfusion during radiotherapy on the immune function of patients with cancer of the uterine cervix: role of interleukin-10. Santin, A.D., Bellone, S., Palmieri, M., Bossini, B., Dunn, D., Roman, J.J., Pecorelli, S., Cannon, M., Parham, G.P. Int. J. Radiat. Oncol. Biol. Phys. (2002) [Pubmed]
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