Activated anti-tumor immunity in cancer patients after high intensity focused ultrasound ablation

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2004 Sep;30(9):1217-22. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2004.08.003.


T cell-mediated immune responses represent the main cellular antitumor immunity in cancer patients. Recent studies have shown that that both surgical procedure and radiation therapy could cause the functional suppression of lymphocyte-mediated cellular immunity. The purpose of current study is to evaluate whether high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) might change a systemic antitumor immunity, particularly T lymphocyte-mediated immunity in cancer patients. A total of 16 patients with solid malignancies were treated with HIFU. Among them, six patients had osteosarcoma (Enneking stage, II(B)4, III(B) 2), five had hepatocellular carcinoma (TNM stage, III 3, IV 2), and five had renal cell carcinoma (TNM stage, III 2, IV 3). Using flow cytometry technique, T lymphocyte and subset, B lymphocyte and natural killer cell (NK) in the peripheral blood were measured in these patients on the day before HIFU and 7 to 10 d after HIFU. The statistical significance of any observed difference is evaluated by Student's t-test. The results showed a significance increase in the population of CD4(+) lymphocytes (p < 0.01) and the ratio of CD4(+) /CD8(+) (p < 0.05) in the circulation of cancer patients after HIFU treatment. The abnormal levels of CD3(+) lymphocytes returned toward the normal range in two patients, CD4(+)/CD8(+) ratio in 3, CD19(+) lymphocytes in one and cytotoxic NK in one, respectively, in comparison to control values. It is concluded that HIFU could enhance a systemic antitumor cellular immunity in addition to local tumor destruction in patients with solid malignancies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonic Therapy / methods*


  • Antigens, CD