T-helper (Th)1/Th2 imbalance has been observed in a variety of pathological conditions, including malignant diseases. We evaluated the Th1/Th2 balance in peripheral blood Th cells by means of intracellular cytokine analysis in 19 patients with previously untreated B-cell diffuse large cell lymphoma (DLCL) and in 18 patients with B-cell DLCL who had achieved complete remission (CR) after chemotherapy. The mean percentage of Th2 in CD4+ cells in patients with DLCL (5.00 ± 2.20) and that of Th1 in CD4+ cells in patients in CR (32.42 ± 11.30) were significantly increased in comparison with those in healthy volunteers, respectively (Th1; 23.02 ± 9.45, Th2; 3.25 ± 0.90; P < 0.01). The mean ratio of Th1/Th2 was significantly lower in patients with DLCL (4.74 ± 0.52) than in patients in CR (9.31 ± 1.06; P < 0.01) and in healthy volunteers (7.25 ± 0.65; P < 0.01). We conclude that the Th1/Th2 balance was polarized to Th2 in untreated DLCL patients and to Th1 in patients in CR, which suggests that a Th1/Th2 imbalance could play a role in lymphomagenesis and durable remission.
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