Neoplastic diseases affect the immunity in cancer patients. The immune alterations in human neoplasms, however, need to be further defined. The present study was carried out to analyze T lymphocyte subsets in patients with solid tumors. The study included 93 patients suffering from early or metastatic solid neoplasms. T helper and T suppressor subsets were measured on venous blood samples by using flow cytometry and monoclonal antibodies. As controls, 58 healthy subjects were included in the study. The T mean helper/ suppressor ratio (CD4/CD8) was significantly lower in metastatic cancer patients with respect to that observed either in controls or in patients without metastases. A low CD4/CD8 ratio was seen in 25 of 93 cancer patients (26.9%), 8 of whom had no metastases, while the other 17 showed a metastatic disease. Within the nonmetastatic group, the decline in the CD4/CD8 ratio was due to increases in the T suppressor subset alone in 7. On the contrary, the percentage of cases with decreased T helper subset was significantly higher in metastatic than in the nonmetastatic patients. The results of this study suggest that the decrease in the CD4/CD8 ratio mainly depends on an increase in T suppressor cells in patients without metastases, whereas it is due to a decrease in the T helper subset in most patients with metastatic diseases.
- CD4/CD8 ratio
- T helper lymphocyte subsets
- T suppressor lymphocyte subsets
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research