Background: In this study, we pilot tested an in vitro assay of cancer killing activity (CKA) in circulating leukocytes of 22 cancer cases and 25 healthy controls.Methods: Using a human cervical cancer cell line, HeLa, as target cells, we compared the CKA in circulating leukocytes, as effector cells, of cancer cases and controls. The CKA was normalized as percentages of total target cells during selected periods of incubation time and at selected effector/target cell ratios in comparison to no-effector-cell controls.Results: Our results showed that CKA similar to that of our previous study of SR/CR mice was present in human circulating leukocytes but at profoundly different levels in individuals. Overall, males have a significantly higher CKA than females. The CKA levels in cancer cases were lower than that in healthy controls (mean ± SD: 36.97 ± 21.39 vs. 46.28 ± 27.22). Below-median CKA was significantly associated with case status (odds ratio = 4.36; 95% Confidence Interval = 1.06, 17.88) after adjustment of gender and race.Conclusions: In freshly isolated human leukocytes, we were able to detect an apparent CKA in a similar manner to that of cancer-resistant SR/CR mice. The finding of CKA at lower levels in cancer patients suggests the possibility that it may be of a consequence of genetic, physiological, or pathological conditions, pending future studies with larger sample size.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research