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Indomethacin-induced augmentation of lymphoproliferative responses in patients with head and neck cancer

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Augmentation of the phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-induced lymphoproliferation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells by indomethacin, a drug which blocks prostaglandin (PG) synthesis, was assessed in 37 patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Indomethacin enhanced the uptake of 3H-thymidine in stimulated cultures both from patients and normal individuals. However, because lymphoid cells from cancer patients were less reactive than those from normal controls, the proportionate increase in PHA-stimulated 3H-thymidine incorporation caused by indomethacin was greater in this population than in the normal population. The degree of enhancement induced by indomethacin did not correlate with the percent of esterase-positive mononuclear cells in the preparations. The amounts of PGE synthesized at 48 h by patients' or normal cells were similar. Cell populations that exhibited elevated levels of augmentation in the presence of indomethacin were approximately 3 times as sensitive to inhibition by 3 nM PGE2. The degree of augmentation detected in the presence of Ro-20-5720, which also prevents PG synthesis, was related to that produced by indomethacin. These results suggested that: (1) the enhancing effect of indomethacin on lymphoproliferation in vitro was related to its inhibition of PG synthesis; and (2) the sensitivity of lymphoid cells to inhibition by PGE2 was slightly, but significantly, increased in individuals with elevated augmentation values.

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Correspondence to Kenneth J. McCormick.

Additional information

A portion of this study was completed at the Division of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA

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McCormick, K.J., Panje, W.R. Indomethacin-induced augmentation of lymphoproliferative responses in patients with head and neck cancer. Cancer Immunol Immunother 21, 226–232 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00199366

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  • Carcinoma
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Squamous Cell
  • Prostaglandin
  • Mononuclear Cell