Xianjun Yu, Shunrong Ji, Jin Xu, Wantong Yao, Bin Qu, Wenwei Zhu, Wenyan Xu, Bo Zhang and Yongfeng Xu
Objectives and background: An efficient cellular immune response against cancer requires a robust population of CD8+ T cells with optimal cytotoxic functions. The aim of this study was to define the percentage of CD8+ T cells and the perforin expression level of the CD8+ T cells in the peripheral blood from patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Methods: Fourty-six pancreatic cancer patients in our center between August 2011 and April 2012 were recruited. Thirty-five healthy persons were included as controls. Blood was drawn before surgery and one and a half months after surgery. Cells were labeled with monoclonal antibodies against perforin and surface antigen CD8 and were analyzed by flow cytometry. Results: Compared with the healthy controls, the percentage of CD8+ T cells was significantly decreased in pancreatic cancer patients. The level of perforin expression was also decreased in pancreatic cancer patients, whereas the percentage of CD8+ T cells was significantly increased after radical tumor resection. Conclusions: Both the number and function of CD8+ T cells were compromised in pancreatic cancer patients, which were partially recovered after the surgery.