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Cancer Immun. 2008 May 27;8:9.

Concurrent decrease in IL-10 with development of immune-related adverse events in a patient treated with anti-CTLA-4 therapy.

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Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, The University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.


The cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) molecule on T cells acts to maintain homeostasis by regulating the proliferation of recently activated T cells. Blockade of CTLA-4 by anti-CTLA-4 antibody enhances T cell responses and has elicited significant tumor regression in some cancer patients. Clinical trials are ongoing to investigate the efficacy of anti-CTLA-4 antibody as a cancer therapeutic. Reports from several clinical trials have documented the occurrence of adverse events in patients treated with anti-CTLA-4 antibody which have some similarities with autoimmune conditions and have been termed immune-related adverse events (irAEs). Most irAEs are reversible with corticosteroid therapy. Some investigators suggest that irAEs occur in the same patients who have anti-tumor responses as a result of the anti-CTLA-4 antibody. Immunologic mechanisms to explain why irAEs occur in some patients have not been reported. Here we report that bladder cancer patients treated with anti-CTLA-4 antibody have increased levels of the Th1 cytokine IFN-gamma detected in plasma samples. Although IFN-gamma is a potent anti-tumor and inflammatory cytokine, increased levels of IFN-gamma were not associated with irAEs in our patients. However, in one patient who experienced an irAE consisting of ischemic papillopathy and optic neuritis, we documented high pre-therapy levels of the Th2 cytokine IL-10 which decreased after treatment with anti-CTLA-4 antibody. The decrease in plasma IL-10 concentration coincided with the patient's irAE. We propose that decreased levels of IL-10 after treatment with anti-CTLA-4 therapy may be responsible for irAEs in some patients and needs to be further investigated in larger studies.

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