Several studies have demonstrated a decreased cytokine production in patients with cancer. Likewise, there is some evidence showing that tumor markers may play a role in immunoregulation. In this work, we have studied the in vitro production of IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α in whole-blood cell cultures of 10 healthy subjects after polyclonal activation with lipopolysaccharide of Salmonella enteridis and phytohemagglutinin in the presence or absence of three markers, AFP, CEA and PSA. Each sample was incubated for 48 h at 37°C in a humidified atmosphere of 5% CO2. Subsequently, cytokine levels in the supernatant were determined. AFP did not significantly affect the production of the three cytokines compared to the basal value obtained on adding PBS. In contrast, CEA significantly increased the production of IL-6 (p <0.001) and TNF-α (p = 0.002), while PSA significantly decreased IL-1β (p <0.001), IL-6 (p = 0.031) and TNF-α (p <0.0001) production. These results suggest a possible role of CEA and PSA in the production of these cytokines.

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