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Acta Otolaryngol. 1999 Mar;119(2):281-4.

Peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) responsiveness in patients with head and neck cancer in relation to tumour stage and prognosis.

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Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.


We have previously shown an increased T lymphocyte and monocyte responsiveness in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) compared with PBMC from control patients. This study reports T lymphocyte function of PBMC of 81 patients with HNSCC dependent on disease stage and prognosis. Males with HNSCC under 80 years of age without cachexia, with no auto-immune disease or previous cancer and on no immuno-active medication were included at the time of diagnosis of disease. The follow-up was for at least 18 months. When cells from patients with early vs late stage disease according to the T, N or T + N stage of HNSCC were compared, decreased in vitro mitogen-stimulated and spontaneous T cell proliferation was seen with increasing tumour stage. When patients were studied according to disease-specific survival, a decreased T lymphocyte mitogen-stimulated proliferation was observed to be associated with a poorer prognosis. No changes in prognosis were noticed related to decreased gamma-IFN, IL-2 or IL-4 level of the supernatants of the T lymphocyte-stimulated PBMC in vitro cultures. With stratification for disease stage, we determined that PBMC in vitro T lymphocyte-stimulated proliferation predicted outcome for the HNSCC patients. The results were similar for both laryngeal and oral cavity/pharyngeal cancers. The present investigation provides evidence to support the idea that the relationship between HNSCC and the immune system of the host may provide clinically useful information about prognosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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