Th1/Th2 balance: an important indicator of efficacy for intra-arterial chemotherapy

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2008 Nov;62(6):959-63. doi: 10.1007/s00280-008-0685-y. Epub 2008 Feb 8.


Purpose: It has been reported that Th2 cytokines down-regulate antitumor immunity, while activation of type 1 T cells promotes antitumor immunity. However, the immunological features of liver cirrhosis (LC) patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (aHCC) treated by intra-arterial chemotherapy are still unclear. The aim of this study was to assess the influence of intra-arterial combination chemotherapy on the Th1/Th2 balance in LC patients with aHCC.

Methods: Twenty-one adult Japanese LC patients with aHCC were treated by intra-arterial combination chemotherapy. The control group was composed of 20 adult Japanese patients with chronic hepatitis C diagnosed from examination of liver biopsy specimens. All control patients were over 55 years old and were stage 1 according to the fibrosis score of Desment.

Results: Thirteen of the 21 aHCC patients (group R) showed an objective response, but the other 8 patients (group N) showed no response. There were no significant differences of Th1 cells between group R and group N either before or after chemotherapy. Although there was no significant difference from group R, group N had a significantly higher percentage of Th2 cells than the control group both before and after chemotherapy (p < 0.05 by Tukey's test).

Conclusions: These results indicate that the Th1/Th2 balance might be a useful indicator of the effect of intra-arterial combination chemotherapy in LC patients with aHCC. Inhibition of an increase of Th2 cells might be important for the efficacy of intra-arterial chemotherapy in such patients.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / blood
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / complications
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / immunology
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Cisplatin / pharmacology
  • Drug Monitoring / methods*
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Fluorouracil / pharmacology
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / immunology
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / complications
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / immunology
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intra-Arterial
  • Interferon-gamma / blood
  • Interleukin-4 / blood
  • Leucovorin / administration & dosage
  • Leucovorin / pharmacology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Liver Cirrhosis / immunology
  • Liver Neoplasms / blood
  • Liver Neoplasms / complications
  • Liver Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Liver Neoplasms / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Count*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Th1 Cells / drug effects*
  • Th2 Cells / drug effects*


  • IL4 protein, human
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Cisplatin
  • Leucovorin
  • Fluorouracil