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Breast Cancer Research

Open Access

Patterns of cytokines and lymphocyte subsets in patients with breast and prostate cancer treated with a standardized mistletoe extract preparation

  • D Wetzel1,
  • A Gromöller1 and
  • U Elsässer-Beile2
Breast Cancer Research20013(Suppl 1):A72

Received: 10 May 2001

Published: 31 May 2001

In an open, multicentre clinical trial (GCP), 136 patients with cancer were included to develop a quality of life instrument. After completion of primary cancer therapy, patients received subcutaneous injections of a standardized mistletoe extract preparation corresponding to a dose of approximately 5 ng mistletoe lectin twice weekly for 3 months. In 19 patients with breast or prostate cancer, immunological parameters were determined at baseline, and after 6 and 12 weeks of treatment. FACS analysis revealed a slight increase in T lymphocytes (CD3+, P = 0,13) and B lymphocytes (CD19+, P = 0.01) during treatment. The ability of patient blood cells to release cytokines was tested by measuring cytokine concentrations in the supernatants of cell cultures stimulated with two different mitogens (PHA or PWM). A mean increase was seen for IL-2, IL-10 and TNF-α (P < 0.05, PHA method after 12 weeks of treatment). For IL-1-α, IL-6, IFN-γ and IL-12 no clear effects were observed. However, the PHA and PWM methods produced different results for some cytokines.


Mild immunomodulatory effects were observed in patients with breast and prostate cancer during treatment with a mistletoe extract preparation standardized to mistletoe lectin (Lektinol®). Changes in the different cytokines and lymphocyte subsets remained within the physiological range.

Authors’ Affiliations

Research and Development, Madaus AG, Germany
Department of Urology, University of Freiburg, Germany


© BioMed Central Ltd 2001