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Hepatol Res. 2003 Dec;27(4):309-314.

Possible contribution of circulating interleukin-10 (IL-10) to anti-tumor immunity and prognosis in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Yamagata University School of Medicine, 2-2-2 Iida-Nishi, 990-9585, Yamagata, Japan



Interleukin-10 (IL-10) has been implicated in immune deficiency in patients with cancer. The relationship of this cytokine as measured in serum to anti-tumor immunity and prognosis was investigated in unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma.


This study consisted of 74 consecutive patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (median age, 65 years). Forty-four healthy age-matched subjects and 32 patients with cirrhosis but no carcinoma served as controls. Patients with hepatocellular carcinoma were divided into those with serum IL-10 concentrations above (high group, n=39) or below (low group, n=35) 10pg/ml.


Age, gender, Child-Pugh grade, and tumor stage distributions were similar in high and low groups. The patients of high group showed lower in lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) and natural killer (NK) activities than those of low group (P<0.01 and 0.01, respectively). Serum IL-10 concentration was a significant factor contributing to low activities of LAK and NK by logistic regression analysis (P<0.05 and 0.05, respectively). The high group had a significantly shorter survival (median, 3 months) than low group (median, 12 months; P<0.02, generalized Wilcoxon test).


These data suggest that serum IL-10 concentration is a possible factor contributing to poor prognosis and low anti-tumor immunity in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma.


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