Combination therapy with lentinan improves outcomes in patients with esophageal carcinoma
- Ji-Lian Wang
- Zheng Bi
- Jian-Wen Zou
- Xiao-Meng Gu
Published online on: December 19, 2011
With a view to improving treatment response and the quality of life of cancer patients, this study investigated the clinical efficacy of combining lentinan, a flavonoid compound with antitumor abilities, with traditional chemotherapy in individuals with esophageal carcinoma (EC), with a particular focus on its effect on immune function. A total of 50 patients undergoing treatment for EC were evenly divided into two groups: control and experimental. Patients in the control group were treated with the chemotherapeutic agent tegafur (1,000 mg/day for 5 days); patients in the experimental group were treated with the same dosage of tegafur combined with 1 mg lentinan diluted in 250 ml normal saline. Patients were monitored for their general condition, symptoms and signs, quality of life and clinical efficacy (remission vs. progression). Additionally, the effects of lentinan on immune function were assessed through analysis of serum levels of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) prior to and following the first and second course of treatment. The results of the scores showed that the general condition (Karnofsky performance scale; KPS), the symptoms and signs (Zubrod-ECOG-WHO score; ZPS) and the quality of life (QOL scale) of the patients following the first and second course of treatment were better in both groups compared to the scores prior to treatment; however, patients in the experimental group exhibited significantly greater improvement than those in the control group (P<0.05). Clinical efficacy was not significantly different between the two groups after 1 course of treatment, but after 2 courses of treatment, clinical efficacy was significantly greater in the experimental group than in the control group (P<0.05). Additionally, serum levels of IL-2, IL-6 and IL-12 increased, while levels of IL-4, IL-5 and IL-10 decreased, in patients of both groups after 2 courses of treatment (P<0.05). These changes occurred to a greater extent in the experimental group than in the control group (P<0.05). In conclusion, the addition of lentinan to the chemotherapy regimen improves the general condition, symptoms and signs, and quality of life of patients with EC. In particular, the patient’s immune function may be enhanced by the combined treatment. The generalized application of lentinan is, therefore, recommended in the clinic.