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Corynebacterium parvum enhances colonic cancer in di methyl hydrazine treated rats

Corynebacterium parvum enhances colonic cancer in di methyl hydrazine treated rats

British Journal of Cancer 37(4): 639-643

The mechanism by which C. parvum enhances cancer is unknown. Using the mouse methylcholanthrene-induced fibrosarcoma model, Bomford analyzed the factors allowing promotion (rather than inhibition) of tumor growth by C. parvum. The final outcome of systemic C. parvum treatment represents the balance between tumor inhibition by nonspecific (probably macrophage-mediated) mechanisms and tumor promotion by the suppression of cell-mediated immunity, and favors the trapping of antitumor effector cells at the site of C. parvum deposition to account for the latter. A recent review of the use of C. parvum in over 800 cancer patients with various cancers provides encouraging data about the overall efficacy and safety of this agent. C. parvum was generally used in combination with chemotherapy, and patients with colonic cancer are not specifically commented on. The promotional effect may only arise during nonspecific immunotherapy with systemic C. parvum alone (as in this experiment) and only then with tumors, e.g., the colorectal cancers of humans and rats which are sufficiently antigenic to elicit a strong (and suppressible) cell-mediated antitumor response. This work is being repeated with larger numbers and more rigorous controls, and sequential in vitro studies are in progress to determine the underlying immunological mechanisms responsible for the enhancement phenomenon observed. The results of this pilot study suggest the need for caution in immunotherapy trials involving the use of C. parvum in patients with colorectal cancer.

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Accession: 005064104

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PMID: 646934

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