Suppression of NK cell activity is considered to be
an unfavourable prognostic factor for tumour progression.
There is proof that mistletoe extracts may increase NK cell activity.
However, the inverse relation between an increase of NK
cell activity and clinical progress of cancer has not been investigated.
Aim and Design: The relation of NK cell activity and
progress of cancer in patients under therapy with mistletoe extracts
was examined in a prospective, monocentric, cohort
study. At the same time the in vitro killing of K562 cells and autologous
tumour cells was compared. Patients and Methods:
40 patients with operable cancer of the breast or colon were included.
The patients did not receive any immunologically relevant
therapies except for mistletoe extracts. The absolute NK
cell count in peripheral blood as well as the in vitro NK cell activity
were monitored for up to 2 years and compared with clinical
outcome as well as quality of life. Results: The absolute NK
cell count in peripheral blood increased within the observation
period. Patients without progression had a significantly higher
mean activity of NK cells against K562 cells than patients with
progression. In the latter group, only stage IV patients showed
reduced NK cell activity. The killing activity against autologous
tumour cells was <5% in about 77.5% of the patients and could
not be evaluated further. The NK cell activity against K562 cells
was not related to the number of NK cells. Conclusions: We
found a relation between NK cell activity and the progression of
malignant disease. In further studies the causality of this relation
has to be clarified. The establishment of NK cell activity
against autologous tumour cells as a suitable parameter during
follow-up was not successful.
Copyright / Drug Dosage
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