One of the most important factors in determining patient prognosis in cancer, is the extent to which the disease has spread (stage). The stage of the disease dictates the therapy. Hence any early screening tests that can contribute to the classification of disease stage are a step forward in the treatment of cancer. Unfortunately, there are very few reliable, early prognostic indices for cancer stage. Our experience in the field of the immunology, and in particular the physiological network of the immune response, leads us to believe that it could be possible to define immunological indices for the classification of cancer stage using blood parameters.
With this aim, we studied serum levels of cytokines, cytokine receptors and leukocyte surface markers as well as peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) cytokine production and PBMC proliferative response in colon cancer patients. Our results show that the study of a patients’ immune system may prove to be a useful, non-invasive tool for the early classification of disease stage. Furthermore a better understanding of the changes that occur in the patients` immune response might also lead to the identification of therapies capable of reversing these changes and restoring homeostasis.
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