PROBLEM: Understanding immunologic eradication of cancer is hampered by failure to explore tumor evolution. Cell surface molecules may alter with therapy and disease progression. These alterations can translate into variable susceptibility to immune-mediated cell lysis.
METHOD OF STUDY: Cell lines from a patient with ovarian carcinoma isolated at surgical debulking (UL-3A), during chemotherapy (UL-3B), and after progression (UL-3C) were used to study changes in cell lysis by natural killer (NK) and lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells. The role of adhesion molecules ICAM-1, LFA-3, and glycoproteins in the demonstrated differential killing was also examined.
RESULTS: An inverse relationship between attachment and lysis was demonstrated. UL-3C, the most sensitive to lysis (50%), attached the least lymphocytes (40%), whereas UL-3A, the least sensitive (33%), attached the most lymphocytes (71%). A correlation with ICAM-1 and LFA-3 expression was not demonstrated.
CONCLUSION: Ovarian cancer cells evolve throughout the disease course, and this may manifest as differential sensitivity to immune-mediated cell lysis.