Innate and adaptive immune cells secrete different cytokines, which participate through distinct mechanisms in cell-mediated immunity and humoral immune responses. The aim of this study was to evaluate the immune response through analysis of type 1 (Th1), Th2, and Th17 cells in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Our study included 44 patients with EOC (study group) and 32 gynecological patients with no ovarian disease (control group). Fragments of ovarian tissue and blood samples were collected in both groups and aliquots of intracystic fluid and peritoneal fluid were recovered from the EOC patient group. Interleukin (IL)-2/IL-4/IL-6/IL-10/IL-17/tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α/interferon (IFN)-γ levels were measured by cytometric bead array. Statistical analysis included chi-squared, Student t, Mann-Whitney, Kruskal-Wallis tests, and Cox regression model. Patients with EOC were associated with higher levels of TNF-α/IL-4/IL-6/IL-10 compared to the control group. Both IL-10 and TNF-α concentrations were higher in patients with stage III/IV EOC and also associated with higher levels of cancer antigen 125. Higher Th1-mediated immune response was observed when the cytoreduction was considered optimal. However, patients with EOC with unsatisfactory cytoreductive surgery and undifferentiated tumors were associated with higher concentrations of Th2 cytokines in the 4 sites studied. Higher IL-6/IL-10 and lower IFN-γ concentrations were also associated with a lower overall survival rate in patients with EOC. The EOC group presented a predominantly Th2 response and an immunosuppressant standard and had association between IL-6/IL-10/IFN-γ and prognosis.
Keywords: adaptive immune response; cytokines; epithelial ovarian cancer; flow cytometry; type 1; type 17.; type 2.