T helper 1/2 lymphocyte urinary cytokine profiles in responding and nonresponding patients after 1 and 2 courses of bacillus Calmette-Guerin for superficial bladder cancer

J Urol. 2001 Dec;166(6):2142-7.


Purpose: Interleukin (IL)-2 and interferon-gamma are released during T helper 1 lymphocyte responses and IL-10 is released during T helper 2 lymphocyte responses. We have previously reported that a T helper 1 lymphocyte urinary cytokine profile is associated with a favorable prognosis after bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) treatment. We evaluated the T helper 1/2 lymphocyte cytokine profiles during courses 1 and 2 of 6 weekly BCG instillations.

Materials and methods: Urinary interferon-gamma, IL-2 and IL-10 were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay after each of 6 weekly instillations of 150 mg. BCG, Pasteur strain, in 19 patients with superficial stages Ta and T1 bladder cancer, and carcinoma in situ. The 11 patients who did not respond to course 1 were re-treated according to the same schedule and reevaluated.

Results: During course 1 interferon-gamma was higher than during course 2 (p <0.001), which was associated with nonrecurrence (p <0.001). In contrast, IL-2 cytokine was higher after course 2 (p <0.01), which was associated with a BCG response (p = 0.01). Interferon-gamma and IL-10 correlated during courses 1 and 2 (p = 0.04 and 0.0004, respectively). We distinguished groups 1-immediate T helper 1 lymphocyte profile consisting of responders to course 1 with high interferon-gamma, IL-2 and IL-10, 2-delayed T helper 1 lymphocyte profile consisting of responders to course 2 with early high IL-2 and 3-consisting of nonresponders to the 2 courses with low interferon-gamma, IL-2 and IL-10.

Conclusions: A T helper 1 lymphocyte urinary cytokine profile was associated with a clinical response to BCG. A repeat BCG course induces a favorable immune response in a subset of patients, suggesting that maintenance therapy may be beneficial.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • BCG Vaccine / administration & dosage*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell / urine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / urine*
  • Interleukin-10 / urine*
  • Interleukin-2 / urine*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*
  • Treatment Failure
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / urine*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • BCG Vaccine
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interferon-gamma