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Cancer Immunol Immunother. 1993;36(1):25-30.

The immunomodulatory effects of urine from patients with superficial bladder cancer receiving intravesical evans BCG therapy.

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  • 1Department of Surgery/Urology (WGH), University of Edinburgh Medical School, UK.


Bladder cancer cells were stimulated with urine obtained from patients with superficial bladder cancer who had received treatment using intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG). The urine from the first 12 h following each of six BCG instillations was collected and examined for its biological effect. We evaluated effects that had previously been attributed to cytokines detected in the urine of such patients. The modulation of MHC class II antigen and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) expression were studied. Using neutralizing polyclonal antibodies to interferon gamma and tumour factor alpha the relative contribution of these molecules to the effects investigated were determined. When cells were stimulated for up to 48 h with first-instillation urine, little effect was seen in any of the parameters investigated. Urine from the sixth instillation, however, proved to be a potent immunomodulatory agent, inducing MHC class II molecule and ICAM-1 expression. Urine from instillations two to five mediated increasing immunomodulatory effects. When sixth-instillation urine samples were treated with neutralizing antibodies to interferon gamma prior to their addition to the bladder cancer cells, a marked and significant decrease in their potency was observed. Only in urine from one patient did any immunomodulatory capability remain after antibody treatment. Neutralizing antibodies to tumour necrosis factor alpha, however, failed to reduce the ability of any patient's urine to induce ICAM-1 expression. When both antibodies were used simultaneously no further decrease in potency was observed. These studies demonstrate for the first time the potential immunomodulatory and cytotoxic effects of urine produced by patients receiving intravesical BCG. Furthermore, in all samples tested, the major immunomodulatory component was shown to be interferon gamma. Although tumour necrosis factor alpha is produced as a result of BCG therapy, this cytokine did not appear to contribute to the parameters investigated, namely the induction of HLA class II antigens, and cell-surface ICAM-1.

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