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Prognosis of patients with carcinoma of the exocrine pancreas is particularly poor. A combination of chemotherapy with immunotherapy could be an option for treatment of pancreatic cancer. The aim of this study was to perform an immunomonitoring of the CapRI-2 patients, and tumour-bearing mice treated with combination of chemo (radio) therapies with interferon-2α. Low doses of interferon-2α led to a decrease in total leucocyte and an increase in monocyte counts. Furthermore, we observed a positive effect of interferon-2α therapy on the dendritic cells and NK cell activation immediately after the first injection. In addition, we recorded an increased amount of interferon-γ and interleukin-10 (IL-10) in the serum following the interferon-2α therapy. These data clearly demonstrate that pancreatic carcinoma patients show an immunomodulatory response to interferon-2α therapy. Analysis of immunosuppressive cells in the Panc02 orthotopic mouse model of pancreatic cancer revealed an accumulation of the myeloid-derived suppressor cells in spleens and tumours of the mice treated with interferon-2α and 5-fluorouracil. The direct effect of the drugs on myeloid-derived suppressor cells was also registered in vitro. These data expose the importance of both immunoactivating and immunosuppressive mechanisms induced by combined chemo-immunotherapy.
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