Tumor-associated transforming growth factor-beta and interleukin-10 contribute to a systemic Th2 immune phenotype in pancreatic carcinoma patients

Am J Pathol. 1999 Aug;155(2):537-47. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9440(10)65149-8.


In this study, we report coexpression of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) and interleukin-10 (IL-10) in pancreatic carcinoma tissue associated with significantly elevated levels of both cytokines in the sera of pancreatic carcinoma patients. Using conditioned media (CM) of pancreatic carcinoma cells, we further demonstrate that tumor cell-derived TGF-beta and IL-10 inhibited in an additive fashion both proliferation and the development of Th1-like responses in peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) preparations derived from normal donors. The antiproliferative and Th1-suppressive activities contained in CM of pancreatic carcinoma cells were due primarily to IL-10 and/or TGF-beta, as shown by the capacity of cytokine-specific neutralizing antibodies to reverse these effects. Finally, as compared to normal controls, PBMC derived from pancreatic carcinoma patients displayed a Th2-like cytokine expression pattern upon activation with either anti-CD3 antibody or Staphylococcus aureus strain Cowan I. Taken together, these results suggest that aberrant production of TGF-beta and IL-10 in pancreatic tumor patients skews T-cell cytokine production patterns in favor of a Th2 immunophenotype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / immunology
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Culture Media, Conditioned / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Interferon-gamma / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Interleukin-10 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-10 / blood
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-12 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Killer Cells, Lymphokine-Activated / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Ducts / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / immunology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / biosynthesis
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / blood
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-12
  • Interferon-gamma