• To study the factors that influence cytokine release, the effect of endotoxin on in vitro tumor necrosis factor production by monocytes from debilitated patients with cancer (n=6) was compared with that from healthy controls (n = 5). Spontaneous and endotoxin-stimulated monocyte tumor necrosis factor production was similar in patients with cancer and controls. However, with total peripheral blood mononuclear cells, enhancement of tumor necrosis factor production by endotoxin in patients with cancer (46±12, mean±SEM) was greater than in controls (0%±7%). This enhanced response correlated with reduced peripheral blood mononuclear cell blastogenesis in response to phytohemaglutinin (r =.66) and could be partially reversed in vitro by addition of exogenous interleukin 2. Thus, a component of total peripheral blood mononuclear cells (probably T cells) seems to influence monocyte cytokine production in response to endotoxin. Moreover, this regulatory component is decreased in patients with cancer, correlates with decreased peripheral blood mononuclear cell blastogenesis, and can be stimulated with interleukin 2.
(Arch Surg. 1992;127:713-717)