Monocyte phagocytic function in patients with breast cancer during therapy
© BioMed Central Ltd 2001
Received: 10 May 2001
Published: 31 May 2001
The present study was designed to elucidate phagocytic function of peripheral blood monocytes in patients with breast cancer during surgery and chemotherapy. Absolute and relative number of peripheral blood leukocytes and monocyte phagocytic function (percentage of phagocytosis [PP], phagocytic index [PI] and capacity of phagocytosis [CP]) were determined in 29 patients with breast cancer and 10 healthy individuals. These parameters were determined at the time of diagnosis, following surgery and after chemotherapy. The total count of circulating leukocytes, and absolute and relative counts of polymorphonuclears and lymphocytes were not significantly different between investigated groups, before and after therapy. The mean number of monocytes was significantly lower in cancer patients at diagnosis, but increased following surgery reaching the control value. There were no significant postchemotherapy changes in the number of monocytes. PP, PI and CP were decreased at the time of diagnosis. PP and CP recovered to normal values following surgery, but PI remained decreased. Following chemotherapy PP and CP remained stable, whereas PI further decreased reaching the values significantly lower than those found before the start of chemotherapy. However, 3 months after last cycle of chemotherapy, all tested parameters returned to normal values. These results showed that phagocytic activity of cancer patients' monocytes, decreased at diagnosis, returned within the normal range after surgical therapy. However, we need time to determine whether the alteration in PBMo phagocytic activity may provide additional prognostic information when monitoring surgically treated breast cancer patients.