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Gynecol Oncol. 2004 Jul;94(1):54-60.

Modulation of CD3-zeta as a marker of clinical response to IL-2 therapy in ovarian cancer patients.

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Division of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY 40292, USA.



In women with advanced ovarian cancer, levels of CD3-zeta on peripheral blood lymphocytes have previously been demonstrated to correlate with responsiveness to interleukin (IL)-2 therapy. The aims of this study were to identify the circulating component that modulated zeta expression and to define whether this suppressive activity could serve as a marker of biotherapy responsiveness.


Sera were obtained from 17 patients with advanced ovarian cancer treated with intraperitoneal IL-2 in a phase I trial between 1987 and 1990. Nine of these patients exhibited a clinical response, while eight did not respond. Six additional sera from age-matched, noncancer-bearing women were used as controls. Jurkat E6-1 cells were used to assay modulation of CD3-zeta by sera and serum-derived components. Jurkat cells were exposed to serum or chromatographically fractionated serum components for 4 days and zeta expression was analyzed by Western immunoblots and quantitated by densitometry.


The effect of sera on zeta expression was compared between responders and nonresponders. Incubation of Jurkat cells with sera from responders suppressed CD3-zeta expression by 36.7% (vs. control treated), while treatment with sera from nonresponders produced an 83.7% reduction in zeta expression (difference between groups, P < 0.001). When sera from nonresponders were chromatographically fractionated, a <20 kDa component was identified that correlated with decreased zeta chain expression. This component was diminished in the sera of responders and absence in controls.


Thus, in patients with advanced ovarian cancer, a circulating component, which decreases zeta expression, can be identified as a marker for responsiveness to IL-2 therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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