Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 193–198 | Cite as

The immunomodulatory effect of levamisole is influenced by postoperative changes and type of lymphocyte stimulant

  • ElMuataz E. AbdAlla
  • Ian J. Adam
  • G. Eric Blair
  • Arthur Boylston
  • Henry M. Sue-Ling
  • Paul Finan
  • David Johnston
Original Article Levamisole, Lymphocytes, PPD, SEB, PHA


The results of both laboratory and clinical research into the immunomodulatory activity of levamisole have shown a considerable degree of inconsistency and sometimes contradiction. This is probably a reflection of the lack of understanding of the mechanism(s) of action of levamisole and it is therefore necessary to base conclusions about its immunomodulatory efficacy in the treatment of disease on experimental assays that take into consideration the in vivo conditions. This investigation was designed to compare the immunomodulatory activity of levamisole under clinically achievable and non-achievable conditions as judged by changes in the perioperative proliferative response of lymphocytes from 30 patients with colorectal cancer. The results obtained showed that proliferation in antigen (purified protein derivative, PPD)-stimulated, but not phytohaemagglutinin(PHA)- or staphylococcal-enterotoxin-B(SEB)-stimulated, lymphocyte cultures was consistently and significantly augmented by levamisole in concentrations of 25 ng–25μg/ml. High concentrations of levamisole (25 μg/ml and 100 μg/ml) were inhibitory to PHA- and SEB-stimulated, but not PPD-stimulated, lymphocyte cultures, especially in the postoperative period. Of particular interest was the observation that, although levamisole temporarily lost its stimulatory activity in the post-operative period (third postoperative day), it did enhance antigen-stimulated lymphocytes at the time of the nadir of the postoperative suppression of lymphocyte proliferation (first postoperative day). Clinically achievable concentrations of levamisole are therefore effective both before and after operation in enhancing the response of lymphocytes to antigens.

Key words

Levamisole lymphocytes PPD SEB PHA 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • ElMuataz E. AbdAlla
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ian J. Adam
    • 2
  • G. Eric Blair
    • 1
  • Arthur Boylston
    • 3
  • Henry M. Sue-Ling
    • 2
  • Paul Finan
    • 2
  • David Johnston
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.The Centre for Digestive DiseasesLeeds General InfirmaryLeedsUK
  3. 3.Department of Molecular MedicineSt. James's University HospitalLeeds

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