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American Journal of Clinical Oncology:

Lymphocyte Subpopulations and Interleukin Levels in High-Risk Melanoma Patients Treated With High-Dose Interferon A-2B.

Gogas, Helen M.D.; Paterakis, George M.D.; Frangia, Konstantina M.D.; Bafaloukos, Dimitrios M.D.; Pectasides, Dimitrios M.D.; Kalofonos, Haralambos P. M.D.; Loukopoulos, Dimitrios M.D.; Stavropoulou-Giokas, Cathrin M.D.; Ioannovich, John M.D.; Mihm, Martin C. Jr. M.D., F.A.C.P.

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Immunologic effects of high-dose interferon are still unclear. We have evaluated changes in blood lymphocyte subpopulations, immunoglobulins, and multiple interleukin in patients with high-risk cutaneous melanoma on adjuvant treatment with high-dose interferon and compared pretreatment values with normal controls. Samples were obtained before treatment, 1 month after induction treatment and at 3, 6, and 12 months of maintenance treatment from 24 patients with high-risk melanoma. Lymphocyte subpopulations were measured by flow cytometry and interleukin and immunoglobulin levels by radioimmunoassay. A statistically significant reduction in B-lymphocytes (p < 0.001), natural killer (NK) cells (p = 0.0004), and monocytes (p = 0.04), and an elevation in CD4/CD8 ratio (p < 0.0001) was observed after 1 month of intravenous interferon. No changes were seen in CD3, CD4, and CD8 lymphocytes. No changes in interleukin (IL)-2, -4, or -5 were observed during 1 year of treatment. IL-2 pretreatment levels were significantly lower than healthy blood donors (p = 0.001), and IL-5 pretreatment levels were significantly higher (p = 0.0056). IL-10 levels significantly dropped after 6 months of treatment (p = 0.01). Immunoglobulins (IgG, IgA, IgM) remained within normal ranges. Three patients had elevated pretreatment levels of IgE. There is a time- and dose-dependent impact of interferon on numbers of circulating B lymphocytes, NK cells, monocytes, and CD4/CD8 ratio. Defects in cellular and humoral immunity are suggested by the low IL-2 and high IL-5 levels, measured in patients with melanoma as compared with healthy controls.

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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