Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery

, Volume 392, Issue 3, pp 353–358

Systemic immune dysfunction in pancreatic cancer patients

  • Bertram Poch
  • Errki Lotspeich
  • Marco Ramadani
  • Susanne Gansauge
  • Hans G. Beger
  • Frank Gansauge
Original Article


Background and aims

We investigated the immune status in 32 pancreatic cancer patients (PC) in comparison with healthy controls (HC).

Materials and methods

Using flow cytometry, peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) were characterized by the expression of surface markers for T helper cells (CD4), T suppressor cells (CD8), B cells (CD19) and NK cells (CD56). The blastogenic response of PBL was analyzed after stimulation with concavalin A (ConA), phytohemagglutinin (PHA), pokeweed mitogen (PWM) and anti-CD3 antibodies. The serum levels of TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-10, IL-12, IL-18, IL-1RA, sIL-2R and TGF-β were determined by ELISA.


No differences in the distribution of peripheral immunocytes in PC were found, whereas the blastogenic response of peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) after stimulation with PHA or anti-CD3 antibodies was significantly decreased in PC. In PC, we found reduced serum levels of IL-2 and significantly elevated levels of TNF-α, TGF-β1, IL-10, IL-2R, IL-1β and IL-1RA.


These data provide evidence for a systemic immune dysfunction in pancreatic cancer patients characterized by a shift towards a T helper cell type 2 cytokine profile, a significant elevation of substances related to T cell suppression and a reduced blastogenic response to PHA and anti-CD3 antibodies of PBL.


Pancreas Cancer Immune dysfunction Cytokines 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bertram Poch
    • 1
  • Errki Lotspeich
    • 2
  • Marco Ramadani
    • 3
  • Susanne Gansauge
    • 3
  • Hans G. Beger
    • 1
  • Frank Gansauge
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Oncological, Endocrinological and Minimal-access SurgeryNeu-UlmGermany
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryArmy HospitalUlmGermany
  3. 3.Pancreatic Cancer Research GroupUniversity of UlmUlmGermany

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