Levamisole in combination with 5-fluorouracil is an effective adjuvant for the treatment of resected Dukes stage C colon cancer. Since the mechanism of action of levamisole is not known, we have investigated its effects on hepatic and splenic reticuloendothelial system (RES) activity in the rat and compared the effect of levamisole with other known RES stimulators.METHODS:
The hepatic and splenic uptake of an intravenous dose of technetium-99m-sulfur colloid has been used to measure RES activity in rats treated with levamisole, glucan, zymosan, chlormethiazole, octreotide, and saline.RESULTS:
Levamisole significantly increased the hepatic uptake of technetium-99m-sulfur colloid and is comparable in its effect to the other RES stimulators. In contrast, levamisole has no effect on splenic RES activity.CONCLUSION:
RES function is considered to be a potentially important factor in the development of liver metastases, and the stimulatory effect of levamisole on the hepatic RES may partly explain its efficacy as an adjuvant treatment in colon cancer.