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Evaluation of Cytokines Production and Natural Killer Cell Binding Capacity in Patients With Hepatocellular Carcinoma Before and After Chemotherapy.

1Soheir R Demian and 2Nadia A Abd El-Moneim.

1Department of Immunology, Medical Research Institute, Alexandria University. 2Department of Radiation sciences (Oncology Unit), Medical Research Institute, Alexandria University.

The role of cytokines and natural killer (NK) cells in malignancy has been of increasing interest. This work was undertaken to evaluate interleukin-1b (IL-1b), IL-2, IL-4 levels and NK binding capacity in 15 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) before and after chemotherapy with adriamycin. The study included 15 normal healthy controls matched for age and sex. A statistically significant decrease in all cytokine levels as well as in the NK binding capacity were recorded in untreated patients as compared to the control group. After 3 and 6 cycles of effective chemotherapy (9/15 i.e. 60% of cases) there was an improvement in those parameters in 9/15 (60% of cases) of HCC patients with responsive tumor. In addition, positive correlations between the degree of tumor differentiation and cytokine levels and NK activity were obtained. From our findings it could be concluded that administration of effective chemotherapy improved the response rate of cytokines production and NK activity. These immune factors may have a role in the pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma. The results may indicate the importance of cytokines and NK assays in monitoring the clinical response to chemotherapeutic agents in HCC.