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Clin Exp Immunol. 2008 Sep;153(3):401-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2008.03726.x.

Immunoglobulin E antibodies from pancreatic cancer patients mediate antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity against pancreatic cancer cells.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY, USA.


In addition to allergy and parasitic infections, immunoglobulin E (IgE) has been shown recently to possess anti-viral and anti-cancer effects. We investigated serum levels of IgE, its low-affinity receptor, soluble CD23 (sCD23) in patients with pancreatic cancer and the effect of IgE against pancreatic cancer cells. Twelve patients were evaluated for pancreatic cancer by imaging and confirmed by biopsy. Fifteen healthy volunteers served as controls. Serum Igs (IgG, IgM, IgA, IgE) and sCD23 levels were determined (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, nephelometry) and the presence of cancer-specific IgE was assessed (fluorescence microscopy, Western blot). IgE anti-cancer activity was determined by antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). Serum levels of IgE and sCD23 were elevated significantly in patients with pancreatic cancer versus controls, whereas no differences were observed in other Ig isotypes (IgG, IgM, IgA). Flow cytometry and immunofluorescence microscopy demonstrated similar presence of IgG and IgE pancreatic cancer Igs. However, Western blot analysis indicated differences in IgG and IgE antigen-specific antibodies; IgE antibody recognized a 50 kD protein. ADCC studies demonstrated that serum and purified IgE-mediated cytotoxicity against pancreatic cancer cells, effects which were reversed with anti-IgE neutralizing antibody and IgE depletion (immunoaffinity); greater cytotoxicity was observed in patient serum when compared with healthy controls. These data suggest that IgE and sCD23 may serve as useful biomarkers for patients with pancreatic cancer and may be important in the immune response to this disease in that IgE-directed therapy may help to direct treatment.

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