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Journal of Immunology and Immunopathology
Year : 1999, Volume : 1, Issue : 1&2
First page : ( 14) Last page : ( 24)
Print ISSN : 0972-0561.

Cytotoxicity profile of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes in various stages of breast carcinoma

Jain R.1, Mishra M.C.2, Rath G.K.3, Kumar R.1

1Department of Anatomy, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, 110029, INDIA.

2Department of Surgery, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, 110029, INDIA.

3Department of Radiotherapy, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, 110029, INDIA.


A total of 44 patients with primary breast carcinoma were selected for the study. Their carcinoma tumors were excised from which fresh tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) were prepared by enzymatic digestion. TILs derived from patients with stage I–IV of breast cancer were cultured for 4 weeks using i) human recombinant gamma interferon (r γIFN), ii) recombinant interleukin-2(rIL-2), and iii) autologous tumor cells + rIL-2 separately. After culturing, the TILs were evaluated for cytotoxicity using (51Cr-assay) against K-562 (a cancer cell line, procured from an external source) and autologous breast tumor cells. The phenotypes of TILs were studied by two colour flow cytometry. When the subsets were counted, they comprised of CD3+(49+89%), CD4+(20+58%), CD8+(20+73%), and CD56+, 16+(2+14.5%). TILs obtained from breast cancer patients of stages I,II,&Tx when stimulated with AuTu cells +IL-2 exhibited cytotoxicity towards autologous tumor cells as compared to K-562 (P<.001). These TILs were predominantly CD3+/CD8+ cells. However, in patients of stage III(T3 tumor status) TILs when cultured with rIL-2,(high dose) and γIFN the cytotoxic activity was expressed mainly by CD4+, CD56+, 16+ and CD8+ which caused killing of not only autologous but also of K-562 cells (P<0.001). The T4 tumor TILs when cultured in similar conditions showed expression of CD8+ and CD56+,16+ cells which killed K-562 cells and not the autologous breast tumor cells. Thus the results provide an insight of CD8+, CD4+, and CD56+, 16+ TILs which mainly kill the target cells i.e. autologous and K-562 cells depending upon the stage of the tumor.


Key words

Breast cancer, cytotoxic lymphocytes, interferon, IL-2.


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