The clinical trials using immunotherapy have been performed for the treatment of variety of malignant tumors. However, large-scale meta-analysis of combined DC-CTL/CIK therapy on immune and clinical response in patients has not been well studied yet. The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of DC-CTL/CIK therapy and evaluate the changes of immune indicators and tumor serological markers both at an individual level and at a system level, which is an important basis for immunotherapy as well as prognosis estimation.
Three cohorts were designed to estimate therapeutic effects on patients with malignant tumors. Tumor serological markers were detected pre- and post-treatment by immunoradiometric methods using commercially available diagnostic kits. Lymphocyte subsets were identified by flow cytometry. The quality of life was assessed by EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire.
In this study, we found out that Tregs was significantly reduced after transfusion of DC-CTL/CIK cells companied by decreasing serological tumor markers including AFP, CA199 and CA242 in primary liver cancer and CA724 in gastric cancer. A system-level analysis showed that lower percentages of Tregs were detected in patients with long-lasting courses of immunotherapy. Strikingly, a tumor progression indicator, myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC), was dramatically decreased in patients after DC-CTL/CIK treatment. These results suggested that DC-CTL/CIK therapy improves immune functions and the quality of life post-treatment versus pre-therapy, indicating that DC-CTL/CIK therapy might block the deterioration of invasive cancers in these patients.
This study demonstrated that DC-CTL/CIK therapy could reduce Tregs, MDSCs, and several crucial serological tumor markers in particular tumors, and improve the function of T cells immune systems and the quality of life in patients with malignant tumor.