Interleukin family (IL-2 and IL-1β) as predictive biomarkers in Indian cancer patients: A proof of concept study

(1) Indus International School Bangalore, Bangalore, India, (2) iCREST - International Stem Cell Services Limited, Bangalore, India

The immune system protects and defends its host against disease through immune cells. Immune cells such as T lymphocytes play a critical role in disease and health by producing key cytokines (pro-inflammatory TH1 or anti-inflammatory TH2). The inflammatory cytokines produced by immune cells such as peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) may suppress the immune state or can lead to disease progression. In our study, we evaluated the functionality of resting PBMCs as well as phytohaemagglutinin mitogen (PHA-M) stimulated PBMCs in cancer patients and healthy controls in the Indian population. PHA-M was used as an activator of PBMCs and served as an index to assess the ability of PBMCs in both cohorts to respond to a superantigen stimulus. We hypothesized that key cytokines (TH1 and TH2 cytokines) could serve as biomarkers to assess the immune status of cancer patients based on the functionality of PBMCs primarily in resting conditions and their ability to respond to PHA-M. In our study, we found that PBMCs from cancer patients showed a marked difference in their resting and activated cytokine profiles with respect to Interleukin-2 (IL-2) and Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) as compared to their healthy counterparts. The study also demonstrated changes in Interleukin-10 (IL-10) profiles which require further study. These cytokines may serve as a potential predictive biomarker and provide the basis to form an immune index for each individual – a tool that could be used to prescribe treatment and therapies for cancer patients.

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