Characterization of cytokine mRNA expression in tumour-infiltrating mononuclear cells and tumour cells freshly isolated from human colorectal carcinomas

A. Csiszár, T. Szentes, B. Haraszti, W. Zou, D. Emilie, G. Petrányi, E. Pócsik

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The in situ function of tumour-infiltrating leukocytes (TIL) in human colorectal adenocarcinoma (CRC) is unclear. Local cytokine expression probably regulates the anti-turnout immune response and turnout immune surveillance. We examined the distribution of mRNA for IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-10 and IL-4 in TIL, and turnout cells freshly isolated from 21 surgically removed primary CRC, using a semiquantitative RT-PCR. Lamina propria-infiltrating leukocytes (LPL) and epithelial cells from normal colon mucosa of 10 CRC patients served as negative controls. Median levels of IFN-γ and TNF-α mRNA were higher in TIL than LPL (p = 0.0002 and 0.0001). IL-10 mRNA was generally observed in TIL and LPL, but no or very small amounts of IL-4 transcripts were detected in TIL and LPL. TNF-α and IL-10 mRNA were more abundant in colorectal tumour cells than in the normal epithelial cells (p = 0.0136 and 0.0036). The number of IFN-γ transcripts in TIL correlated negatively (p = 0.039) and the number of TNF-α transcripts in turnout cells correlated positively with the Dukes' stages (p = 0.0147). Our results suggest that TIL are characterized by a type 1 (Th1/Tc1-like) pattern of cytokine expression and function as T cells (and macrophages) in the local, cell-mediated antiturnout immune response in early stages of CRC. Changes in IFN-γ and TNF-α mRNA in TIL and turnout cells could be related to turnout progress (e.g. by T cell anergy) or forming of metastases, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-96
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Cytokine Network
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2001



  • Colorectal cancer
  • Cytokines
  • Gene expression
  • RT-PCR
  • Tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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