Perioperative immunomodulation in cancer surgery

American Journal of Surgery
T A ColacchioL W Hildebrandt


Despite undergoing a curative resection, many patients with colorectal cancer will develop and die of metastatic disease. It has been shown clinically and experimentally that surgery causes a transient period of immunosuppression, and it is postulated that this may encourage both the implantation of surgically disseminated tumor cells and the growth of existing micrometastases. The present study used natural killer cell cytotoxicity (NKCC) and tumor burden to evaluate perioperative modulation of immunocompetence in a murine model. We measured NKCC and tumor burden responses to a standardized surgical stress (SSS) alone, and to either morphine sulfate (MS) (15 mg/kg subcutaneously x 4 doses), ketorolac (a prostaglandin synthetase--prostaglandin E2--inhibitor) (2.5 mg/kg subcutaneously x 4 doses), or interleukin 2 (2,000 units intraperitoneally x 3 doses) administration with the SSS. In this model, we found that both low-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2) and ketorolac reversed the NKCC suppression associated with surgery, whereas morphine resulted in further depression of NKCC. In addition, IL-2 significantly decreased tumor incidence, whereas continuous MS exposure markedly increased tumor burden after surgery. These data suggest that I...Continue Reading


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