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Hum Pathol. 1997 Mar;28(3):321-31.

Tumor-host interaction: analysis of cytokines, growth factors, and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in ovarian carcinomas.

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Department of Pathology, Tulane University Medical Center, New Orleans, LA 70112-2699, USA.


The host-tumor interaction may play an important role in determining tumor progress. Recent studies have shown that this interaction can be influenced by the release of soluble factors by tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL). The aim of our study is to characterize the nature of cytokines and growth factors and their relationship to the cellular infiltrates in 16 patients with ovarian cancer using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry. Total RNA from 20 malignant and 10 benign specimens were used to assay for expression of 12 cytokines. Additionally, monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) were used to detect T cells, CD4+ helper and CD8+ cytotoxic/suppressor T-cell subtypes, B cells, and macrophages. Our results showed the expression of transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1), interleukin-10 (IL-10), and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) in 19, 17, and 10 malignant specimens, P < .001, .001, and .05, respectively. Other cytokines such as interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), TNF-beta/LT, IL-2, and IL-6 were expressed in a few cases, and IL-1alpha and IL-4 expression were not detected. The benign samples did not express IL-10, but GM-CSF, TGF-beta1, and IL-8 were expressed in one, one, and four specimens, respectively. Interestingly, in four cases in which samples from the primary and relapse tumors were available for analysis, the tumors in relapse showed a significant increase for TGF-beta1 (P < .05) and a decreased trend in IL-10 mRNA levels. The source of these factors was tumor cells as detected immunohistochemically. This combined alteration of TGF-beta1 and IL-10 was associated with a significant reduction in number of TIL in general, and CD8+ and macrophages in particular (P = .036 and .049, respectively). Our findings suggest the important role of certain soluble factors in the complex process of tumor progression. Furthermore, understanding the tumor-host relationship and the factors influencing the interaction may be helpful in developing effective and innovative treatment methods.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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