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Stanzer, S.
IMMUNE ALTERATIONS IN PATIENTS WITH SOLID MALIGNANCIES. Immune dysfunctions and the detection of circulating tumour cells in the peripheral blood of patients with metastatic epithelial cancer. The impact of a psychosocial intervention on immune parameters of breast cancer patients
[ Dissertation ] Graz Medical University; 2007. pp.122.


Authors Med Uni Graz:
Stanzer Stefanie
Bauernhofer Thomas
Greimel Elfriede Renate

Interactions between the tumour and the host immune system have been subject of much interest and controversy in the last years. Patients with cancer often show dysfunctions of the immune system. Decreased of absent zeta chain expression and an elevated expression of the activation and death receptor CD95 as well as inhibitory cytokines, including tumour derived inhibitory factors, have been linked to increased susceptibility of lymphocytes to undergo apoptosis in patients with cancer. The presence of T regulator (Treg) cells at a high frequency may also contribute t such dysfunctions. Treg cells are characterised by an increased CD25 expression and seem to play an active part in establishing and maintaining immunological unresponsiveness to self antigens and may also be crucial in the development of T cell tolerance to malignancies. The detection of circulating tumour sells (CTCs) may also related to immune dysfunction. It is well known that CTCs can be linked to advanced tumour stage and tumour progression. Therefore, a relationship between the presence of circulating tumour cells and immune cell abnormalities could be possible. Several lines of evidence suggest that psychological factors can also affect the immune system. Stress can provoke changes of the hormonal, cytokine and immune profile in the peripheral blood. While acute stress is vitally important, chronic stress like being diagnosed with cancer might lead to psychological sequels and immune dysfunction. At the beginning of the present thesis, the percentage, activity and onset of apoptosis of T and NK cell subpopulations, with a special focus on regulatory T cells in patients with metastatic epithelial tumours (n=27) were determined relative to normal controls (NCs; n=20) by multicolour flow cytometry. Additionally, CTCs were determined by immunocytochemistry as a surrogate parameter for tumour burden in order to examine a possible relationship with immune dysfunction in patients with different metastatic epithelial tumours (n=27). As a proof of principal experiment it was tried to establish a stable polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect CTCs in patients with colorectal cancer. Only fice patients out of the 27 metastatic epithelial patients cohort were analysed by PCR. Finally, a possible influence of a psychosocial intervention on the wellbeing and immune defence system was studied in a carefully selected adjuvant breast cancer patients group (n=25).

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