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Antitumoral Activity of Interferon-γ Involved in Impaired Immune Function in Cancer Patients

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Insufficient immunosurveillance is an important aspect in early tumorigenesis and in the pathogenesis of malignant disease. In the later course of cancer, the development of immunodeficiency is considered the major reason for disease progression and death. Within the anti-tumoral host defense reaction, Th1-type cytokine interferon-γ (IFN-γ) is of particular relevance. IFN-γ stimulates several anti-proliferative and thus tumoricidal biochemical pathways in macrophages and other cells and also in tumor cell lines. These include inducible nitric oxide synthase, indoleamine (2, 3)- dioxygenase, an enzyme degrading the essential amino acid tryptophan, and the production of reactive oxygen species and neopterin in human macrophages and dendritic cells. Although the anti-proliferative strategy of the immune system aims to inhibit the growth of malignant cells, it can also affect T-cell response and thus contribute to the development of immunodeficiency. Accelerated degradation of tryptophan and increased production of neopterin were found to parallel the course of malignant diseases. Moreover, a higher degree of these metabolic changes characterizes poor prognosis and is associated with the development of anemia, weight loss and depressive mood in patients. Available data suggest that immunodeficiency in cancer patients may develop as a long-term side-effect of the antiproliferative and pro-apoptotic mechanisms elicited within Th1-type immune response, and enhanced production of pro-inflammatory cytokine IFN-γ seems to be critically involved.





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Keywords: 3-dioxygenase; Interferon-γ; cancer; immunodeficiency; indoleamine 2

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Division of Biological Chemistry, Biocenter Innsbruck Medical University, Fritz Pregl Strasse 3, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria.

Publication date: August 1, 2006

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  • Current Drug Metabolism aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in drug metabolism and disposition. The journal serves as an international forum for the publication of timely reviews in drug metabolism. Current Drug Metabolism is an essential journal for academic, clinical, government and pharmaceutical scientists who wish to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments. The journal covers the following areas:

    In vitro systems including CYP-450; enzyme induction and inhibition; drug-drug interactions and enzyme kinetics; pharmacokinetics, toxicokinetics, species scaling and extrapolations; P-glycoprotein and transport carriers; target organ toxicity and interindividual variability; drug metabolism and disposition studies; extrahepatic metabolism; phase I and phase II metabolism; recent developments for the identification of drug metabolites and adducts.
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