Clinical Topics

Antibiotics Appear to Inhibit Tumor Activity in CTCL

by U.S. Medicine

September 22, 2019

AARHUS, DENMARK—Do CD4 T cell responses to  Staphylococcus aureus inadvertently enhance neoplastic progression in models of skin cancer and cutaneous T cell lymphoma?

A prospective study in the journal Blood examined that question, exploring the effect of transient antibiotic treatment on tumor cells and disease activity in eight patients with advanced stage CTCL.1

The study team, led by Danish researchers from Aarhus University and also including participation from the James J. Peters VAMC in New York, determined that all patients experienced significant decrease in clinical symptoms in response to aggressive, transient antibiotic treatment.

In fact, researchers noted that some patients had clinical improvements lasting for more than eight months.

“In six out of eight patients, a malignant T cell clone could be identified in lesional skin, and a significant decrease in the fraction of malignant T cells was observed following antibiotics but an otherwise unchanged treatment regimen,” the study noted.

The authors pointed out that immunohistochemistry, global mRNA expression and cell-signaling pathway analysis indicated that transient aggressive antibiotic therapy was associated with decreased expression of IL-2 high-affinity receptors (CD25), STAT3 signaling, and cell proliferation in lesional skin.

In conclusion, this study provides novel evidence suggesting that aggressive antibiotic treatment inhibits malignant T cells in lesional skin,” the researchers wrote. “Thus, we provide a novel rationale for treatment of SA in advanced CTCL.”

  1. Lindahl LM, Willerslev-Olsen A, Gjerdrum LMR, Nielsen PR, et. Al.
  2. Antibiotics inhibit tumor and disease activity in cutaneous T cell lymphoma. Blood. 2019 Jul 22. pii: blood.2018888107. doi: 10.1182/blood.2018888107. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31331920.


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