Relationship between psychoncology and psychoneuroendocrinoimmunology (PNEI): Enhanced T-regulatory lymphocyte activity in cancer patients with self-punishement, evaluated by Rorschach test

Giuseppina Messina, Paolo Lissoni, Erio Bartolacelli, Luciano Magotti, Massimo Clerici, Paolo Marchiori, Elisa Colombo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Psychological studies have documented the presence of a self-punishment profile in cancer patients. Recent immuno-oncological studies have shown that within the group of CD4+ cells, which play a fundamental role in the generation of anticancer immunity, there is a subtype of cells that in contrast mediates the suppression of the anticancer immunity, the so-called T-regulatory cells (T-reg), which may be identified as CD4 +CD25+ cells. Patients and Methods: On this basis, we performed a psychoncological study to evaluate CD4+CD25+ cell numbers in relation to the response to Rorschach's test in a group of 30 cancer patients suffering from the most frequent tumor histotypes. Results: Normal values obtained in our laboratory (95% confidence limits) of T-reg lymphocytes and CD4+/CD4+CD25+ were 3 and >4mm3, respectively. The psychological profile of self-punishment was found in 18/30 patients (60%). The percentage of patients with abnormally high CD4+CD25+ values observed in the group with self-punishment was significantly higher than that found in patients without self punishment (11/18 vs. 3/12 (25%), p+/CD4 +CD25+ ratios was significantly higher in the group with self-punishment (16/18 vs. 4/12, p+/ CD4 +CD25+ ratio was significantly lower in patients with self-punishment than in the other group (2.6±02 vs. 5.2±0.8, p+ lymphocytes. Conclusion: The study suggests that self-punishment may inhibit the generation of an effective anticancer immune response by stimulating the activation and proliferation of T-reg lymphocytes, which in turn stimulate tumor dissemination by suppressing anticancer immunity. The abnormally high number of T-reg lymphocytes in patients with self-punishment would suggest a specific immune alteration, as suggested by the evidence of a normal profile for other immune parameters, such as total CD4+ lymphocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-78
Number of pages4
JournalIn Vivo
Volume24
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010

Keywords

  • Anticancer immunity
  • Psychoncology
  • Rorschach's test
  • T-regulatory lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology

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