Impaired interleukin-12 production is associated with a defective anti-tumor response in colorectal cancer

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



Despite development of many chemotherapeutic regimens, colorectal cancer continues to have a high mortality. One of the major new potential therapies is interleukin-12, a heterodimeric cytokine produced by antigen presenting cells. In vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated the role of interleukin-12 in stimulating a cell-mediated anti-tumor response against a number of colon adenocarcinoma tumor models. However, it is unknown whether patients with colorectal cancer have impaired interleukin-12 production. A study was performed to investigate production of interleukin-12 preoperatively and the relationship between these levels and disease stage at surgery.


Preoperative peripheral blood mononuclear cells from colorectal cancer patients and agematched controls were stimulated by Staphylococcus aureus Cowan's Strain 1 (0.0075 percent wt/vol) in vitro for 24 hours. Expression of interleukin-12 was then assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. A single pathologist assessed the tumors for stage according to TNM and Dukes classifications.


Twenty-eight patients with colorectal cancer and 14 controls were recruited for the study. Interleukin-12 production was significantly impaired in patients with colorectal cancer compared with controls (P=0.014), especially those with advanced disease: Dukes C, P=0.001 and T4, P<0.05.


Interleukin-12 production is impaired in patients with colorectal cancer, especially those with advanced disease, suggesting a defective Th1-mediated anti-tumor response. These patients may well benefit from exogenous interleukin-12 treatment.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles