World J Gastroenterol 2005 Nov;11(42):6624-30
Virology and Immunology Unit, Cancer Biology Department, National Cancer Institute, Cairo University, Fom El-Khalig, Cairo 11796, Egypt.
Aim: To observe the imbalance between T helper cell Th1 and Th2 cytokines in several chronic hepatitis disease at different stages of disease progression.
Methods: We measured the cytokine levels of Th1 (IL-2 and IL-2R), Th2 (IL-10) and the pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6 and IL-6R and TNF and TNF-RI and II) by the ELISA technique in the sera of 33 hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients and 20 chronic liver disease (CLD) patients. In addition, 20 asymptomatic hepatitis C virus carriers and 20 healthy subjects negative for hepatitis C virus(HCV) markers served as controls.
Results: Anti-HCV antibodies were found to be positive in 94% of HCC cases and 75% of CLD cases. On the other hand, HCV viremia was detected using RT-PCR in 67% of HCC cases and 65% of CLD cases. HBsAg was positive in 9% of HCC cases and 30% of CLD cases. Also bilharzial-Ab was positive in 55% of HCC cases, 65% of CLD cases and in 70% of asymptomatic carriers (ASC). HCC patients had significantly higher values of IL-2R, TNF-RII (P<0.001), and TNF-RI (P>0.05), but lower TNFalpha (P<0.001) and IL-6 (P = 0.032) in comparison to ASC. But, in comparison to non-cancer controls, HCC patients had higher values of IL-2R, IL-6R, TNF-RI and TNF-RII, but lower TNF-alpha (P<0.001). CLD patients had higher IL-2R, TNF-RI, and TNF-RII (P<0.001) than ASC. But, in comparison to non-cancer controls, CLD patients had higher values of IL-2R, TNF-RI and TNF-RII, but lower TNF-alpha (P<0.001). IL-10 was higher (though not significantly) in HCC and CLD patients than in symptomatic carriers and non-cancer controls.
Conclusion: Liver disease progression from CLD to HCC due to HCV genotype-4 infection is associated with an imbalance between Th1 and Th2 cytokines. IL-2R, TNF-RI, and TNF-RII could be used as potential markers.