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Rivista di Medicina Interna
Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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Panminerva Medica 1999 Giugno;41(2):129-33
Radio- and chemotherapy variably affect the general immunocompetence of lung cancer patients
Vuckovic-Dekic L., Susnjar S., Stanojevic-Bakic N., Radosavljevic D.
From the Institute for Oncology and Radiology of Serbia National Cancer Research Center, Beograd, Yugoslavia
Objective. The evaluation of the effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy on the immune status of lung cancer patients.
Experimental design: prospective nonrandomized study. Setting: hospitalized care. Patients: 121 patients with unresectable non-small-cell lung cancer ( Stage IIIb or IV), who were planned for radiotherapy (n=81) or chemotherapy (n=40).
Measures: the relative and absolute numbers of blood T lymphocytes and monocytes, as well as the mitogen-induced proliferative response of the former, and phagocyting capacity of the latter cell subpopulation, were determined in patients before starting any therapy. In radiotherapy (RT)-treated group, the immune parameters were evaluated after 45 Gy and 60 Gy had been given. In chemotherapy (ChT)-treated group, the same parameters were determined three weeks after the 2nd and 4th cycle of ChT.
Results. The number and proliferative response of T lymphocytes were significantly (p<0.001) lower, while the number and phagocyting capacity of monocytes were significantly (p<0,001) higher in all patients before therapy, in comparison to the controls. After RT, the T cell number and proliferative response were significantly (p<0.001) decreased, while the number of monocytes and their phagocyting capacity remained unchanged, when compared to the pretreatment values. Unlike RT, chemotherapy did not change any investigated parameter, except for the phagocyting activity of monocytes, which was significantly (p<0.02) decreased, in comparison to the pretreatment value, after four cycles of ChT only.
Conclusions. Two cancer treatment modalities — radio- and chemotherapy — variably affect the immune status of lung cancer patients. The initial great disturbances of general immunity parameters are further aggravated by radiotherapy. Unlike RT, chemotherapy exerts no suppression at all; on the contrary, it tends to normalize some of the parameters of cellular immunity of lung cancer patients.