Co-existence of Echinococcus granulosus infection and cancer metastasis in the liver correlates with reduced Th1 immune responses

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Abstract

SUMMARY

A possible relationship between cancer and Echinococcus granulosus infection has been postulated. As T cells are critical players in immune responses against both infections and malignancies, in an experimental model of secondary echinococcosis and breast cancer, this study aims to observe the progression of cancer and to determine the characters of T-cell responses. 4T1 breast tumour cells were subcutaneously injected into mammary region, whereas protoscoleces were intraperitoneally inoculated into the mice. Hydatid cysts, tumours and metastases were determined with macroscopic and histopathological evaluation. T cells found in spleen, liver and tumour were characterised by flow cytometric analysis of CD3, CD4, CD8, CD25, CCR5, CCR3, IL-4 and IFN-γ. In the mice inoculated both with protoscoleces and with breast tumour cells, increased frequency of cancer metastasis was observed in the liver. The amount of CD4+ T cells was increased in the liver and in the spleen of mice infected with E. granulosus. However, co-existence of echinococcosis and metastatic lesions in the liver was associated with significant reduction in the IFN-γ+ and CCR5+ Th1 cells and increase in the CD25+ T cells. Our results may indicate an immunological link between cystic echinococcosis and cancer that allows tumour metastasis to flourish in the liver.

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