The changes in local immunology play an important role in lung cancer development. We used bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and peripheral blood (PB) for the analysis of cell profiles in patients with primary lung cancer. Twenty-one patients with confirmed primary lung cancer and 13 healthy volunteers were investigated. All persons were smokers. The analysis of T-cell subsets was performed with a flow cytometry method and with the following antibodies: anti CD3, CD4, CD8, CD16, CD25, CD45, CD56, and HLA-DR. We found differences in the proportion of lymphocytes between BALF and PB, and a higher proportion of T cells and a lower proportion of B and natural-killer (NK) cells in BALF. There was a significant difference in the proportion of T-cytotoxic/suppressor lymphocytes, which was elevated in the BALF of patients and decreased in patients' PB. The T-helper:T-cytotoxic/suppressor (Th:Tc/s) ratio was significantly lower in the BALF of patients. These changes were visible in patients with a small cell type. The percentage of T cells with the alpha chain of receptor to IL-2 (IL -R) was lower in the BALF of patients than in the control group. Our observations reflect local changes in lung environment in patients affected with lung cancer.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.