Background: Tumor genesis of many pediatric malignancies remains unclear. Data of immune function are lacking at diagnosis. We prospectively analyzed 109 pediatric patients with malignancy at diagnosis.
Methods: Lymphocyte subpopulations were characterized by FACS, TREC-assay, and Immunoscope, cytokines by FACS and ELISA.
Observations: We detected higher values of CD4+ T cells and consecutively shifted CD4+/CD8+ ratio in all patients compared with the control group. In patients with lymphoma, interleukin-2 was upregulated in all subpopulations.
Conclusions: On the basis of these findings an altered immune function could be found in children with different malignancies at diagnosis. Further investigations are necessary to identify tumor-related immune deficiency for novel therapeutic approaches.