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Brain Behav Immun. 2008 Jan;22(1):65-73. Epub 2007 Jul 23.

Positive psychosocial factors and NKT cells in ovarian cancer patients.

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Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, E11 Seashore Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Psychosocial factors are known to be associated with properties of both NK cells and T cells in cancer patients. Less is known about the relationship between psychosocial factors and NKT cells, a rare group of lymphocytes that have known relevance for tumor control. We examined four psychosocial factors and percentage and number of CD3+CD56+ NKT cells, CD3-CD56+ NK cells, and CD3+CD56- T cells in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL), ascites, and tumor of 35 ovarian cancer patients and 28 patients with benign pelvic masses. Patients awaiting surgery for a suspected cancerous mass completed questionnaires and gave a pre-surgical blood sample. Ascites and tumor were taken during surgery. After lymphocyte isolation, subpopulations were analyzed by flow cytometry. Benign and cancer patients did not differ on PBL subpopulations. Among cancer patients, NKT cell percentage was significantly higher in tumor and ascites than in PBL; T cell percentage was significantly higher in PBL than tumor. NKT, NK, and T cell number were significantly higher in peripheral blood than in ascites. Positive reframing was related to significantly higher NKT cell percentage and number in PBL. Social support was related to significantly higher NKT cell percentage in tumor. Vigor was related to significantly higher NKT cell percentage in PBL. Total mood disturbance was not related to NKT cell percentage or number. No significant relationships were found between psychosocial factors and NK cell percentage and number and T cell percentage and number. Given the anti-tumor activity of CD3+CD56+ cells, these relationships may have relevance for cancer control.

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