Pancreatic cancer is the 5th leading cause of cancer death and the worst prognostic cancer in
the world. This is due to high recurrent rate after surgical resection and poor response to
chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Recent studies revealed that peri-tumoral structure and patients' immune status including
cytotoxic immunity played significant role in the bad behavior of pancreatic cancer. While
past studies focused on oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, recent studies focused on
patients' own immunity. Patients' immunity modified by cancer cells is found to be correlated
to cancer progression and metastasis.
Natural killer cells, playing an important role in cytotoxic immune system, are revealed to
be decreased in patients with lung cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal
cancer, and breast cancer. And in melanoma mouse model, when NK cell was suppressed, cancer
progression and metastasis were accelerated.
This study sought to find the correlation of patients' cytotoxic immune status to cancer
progression and status by measurement of NK cell activity in pancreatic cancer patients. This
would be basic support to construct a prognostic model of pancreatic cancer for early
metastasis and post operational recurrence.