Medroxyprogesterone acetate reduces the in vitro production of cytokines and serotonin involved in anorexia/cachexia and emesis by peripheral blood mononuclear cells of cancer patients

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      Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) is widely used in oncology both in the treatment of hormone-related cancers and as supportive therapy in anorexia/cachexia syndrome (ACS), but conclusive data are not yet available to explain its anticachectic effect. ACS is characterised by weight loss, changes in metabolism, reduction of appetite, nausea and vomiting. Several cytokines, mainly interleukin (IL)-1, IL-2, IL-6 and tumour necrosis factor a (TNFα), are involved in the pathogenesis of ACS. Additionally, nausea and vomiting can be mediated by factors inducing serotonin (5-HT) production and/or release by pleiotropic cells including activated T lymphocytes. In the present study, we report the effect of MPA on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 10 cancer patients in advanced stage of disease (6 head and neck, 2 colon, 1 lung and 1 ovary). The proliferative response of PBMC to PHA, anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody (MAb) or recombinant IL-2 (rIL-2), the production of IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, TNFα and 5-HT by PHA-stimulated PBMC and the expression of lymphocyte membrane-bound IL-2 receptor (IL-2R) subunities (CD25 and CD122) were studied. The addition of MPA significantly reduced the PBMC proliferative response to PHA and anti-CD3 MAb but not to rIL-2. MPA 0.2 (μg/ml was also capable of reducing the levels of IL-1β, IL-6, TNFα and 5-HT produced in culture by PHA-stimulated PBMC, whereas it did not induce any change in the percentage of PBMC expressing either CD25 or CD122 or both molecules after stimulation with PHA or anti-CD3 mAb.


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