Objective To determine the effects of nephrectomy on the immune response of patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC).
Patients and methods Five patients with RCC were monitored before and over a period of up to 3 months after nephrectomy. The aspects measured were the phenotypic expression of markers on circulating lymphocytes, circulating concentrations of cytokines, markers of inflammatory and immune responses, and natural killer (NK) cell and lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cell activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). The suppressive activity of patients' plasma on NK activity and ability to generate interleukin-2 (IL-2) induced LAK cells in PBMC of normal volunteers was also investigated.
Results The results indicated that high CD4/8 ratios were present pre-nephrectomy with evidence of inflammatory responses and immune activation in some patients, particularly those with metastatic disease.
Conclusion The effect of nephrectomy was to decrease the inflammatory response and increase immune activation. Various defects in NK cell activity and LAK cell generation were demonstrated pre-surgery which slowly improved once the primary tumour had been removed and it is suggested that such defects could have contributed to tumour growth and development due to an ineffective immune response.