Impaired perforin-dependent NK cell cytotoxicity and proliferative activity of peripheral blood T cells is associated with metastatic melanoma.

Patients with metastatic melanoma often have defects in the percentage and function of peripheral blood NK cells, which are involved in the non-specific innate antitumor immune response, and T cells, which participate in the specific acquired antitumor immune response. The aim of this study was to investigate in more detail not only the percentage but also the activation status and function of NK and T cells in patients with metastatic melanoma prior to therapy.
The percentage of peripheral blood CD56+ NK cells, CD3+ T cells and their CD4+ and CD8+ subsets, as well as the expression of the activation antigens CD69, CD38 and HLA-DR were analyzed by flow cytometry. The functional capacity of NK cells was evaluated by the 51-chromium release cytotoxicity assay, while the proliferative activity of T cells was estimated by the lymphocyte transformation test to mitogen phytohemagglutinin.
The results obtained in this study have revealed a new aspect of NK and T cell dysfunction that is not, as commonly reported, associated with a decrease in their percentage. Moreover, a significant number of the investigated patients had a higher percentage of NK cells that did not lead to improved NK cell cytotoxicity as a result of the detected defect in the NK cell perforin-mediated cytotoxic mechanism of tumor cell lysis. The impaired proliferative response of T cells was associated with a decreased expression of the activation antigen HLA-DR.
The novel finding in this study of melanoma patients with metastatic disease is the impaired perforin-dependent NK cell cytotoxic mechanism, which was recently shown to be primarily responsible for preventing metastasis. Another interesting finding was the generally hyporeactive status of T cells, possibly resulting from persistent antigenic stimulation. The observed dysfunction of NK and T cells in patients with metastatic melanoma prior to therapy point to the need to supplement chemotherapy with appropriate immunotherapeutic agents in order to overcome the immunosuppression associated with advanced malignancy.
AuthorsV Jović, G Konjević, S Radulović, S Jelić, I Spuzić
JournalTumori (Tumori) 2001 Sep-Oct Vol. 87 Issue 5 Pg. 324-9 ISSN: 0300-8916 [Print] Italy
PMID11765182 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't)
Chemical References
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins
  • Perforin
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural (immunology)
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Male
  • Melanoma (immunology, secondary)
  • Membrane Glycoproteins (physiology)
  • Middle Aged
  • Perforin
  • Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins
  • T-Lymphocytes (immunology)

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