New City Osaki Clinic homepage > Treatment outcomes and case reports > Breast cancer, case of breast cancer 2
This patient found a lump of 3 cm in size in her right breast, underwent examination, and was diagnosed with breast cancer. A total mastectomy was performed. Because there was lymph node metastasis, four courses of anticancer agents were administered after the surgery. Hormone therapy was subsequently started, and the patient was doing well without any signs of recurrence. Some three years after the surgery, however, a hard lump of 3 cm in size appeared on the chest wall where the breast was before resection and grew larger rapidly over two months. In addition, a CT scan revealed in the liver more than 20 metastases of varying size ranging from 2 cm to 6 cm that were partially fused together. These were diagnosed as local metastasis and multiple hepatic metastases of breast cancer (Photo 1, on the left).
The patient and her husband were surprised and searched for treatment methods that would potentially be effective for her condition. During their search, they saw the New City Osaki Clinic website and came in for a consultation. At that time, the patient’s liver metastases were very advanced. We asked her regular physician to prescribe an oral anticancer agent, called TS-1, and started highly active NK cell therapy at the same time. The first immune cell therapy was performed two weeks after she started to take TS-1. Three days later, she found that the hard and raised recurrent tumor that appeared on her chest had rapidly shrunk and softened. After the second administration, she could barely feel the tumor on her chest wall. The liver was originally large and swollen, which our physician could determine through the palpation of the abdomen. After two months, the swelling of the liver could not be felt in palpation, and her overall physical condition was also improved at that time. CT scan after five months of administration showed that not only the largest metastasis of 6 cm in size, but also many other scattered metastases disappeared, except one small one (Photo 1, on the right). In the meantime, only TS-1 and the cancer immune cell therapy were used for the treatment, and therefore, only a few side effects including mild and temporary anorexia were observed. The patient was able to perform daily activities as a homemaker. Now, we will review how her immune state changed before and after the treatment (Figure).
In each administration, 15 to 20 billion activated lymphocytes were injected. About 40% of them were NK cells (six to eight billion) and the rest of the cells were activated T cells (mainly killer T cells). As a result, the proportion of NK cells in the blood was more than tripled, from 8.7% before the treatment, to 27.6% after 10 times of administration. With this increase, NK activity was also roughly doubled. In addition, the proportion of NKG2D-positive T cells (on average, 40% in healthy individuals), which was as low as 17.0% before the treatment, was also more than tripled to 52.9%.
Thus, highly active NK cell therapy is characterized by the increase in NK cells and NKG2D-positive cells in the blood and the improvement of NK activity achieved by the administration of activated lymphocytes containing a large amount of NK cells. That is to say, the immunity of the body is definitely strengthened. Such changes in cells indicate that injections of a large amount of highly active NK cells and T cells influence and activate the original lymphocytes which were suppressed and deactivated by cancer. Cancer has a potent inhibitory action to block the immunological capacity and prevent immunity from functioning. TS-1 is thought to allow immunotherapy to be effective by weakening the resistance of cancer to immunity (making cancer more sensitive to immunity) in addition to killing cancer cells. This case demonstrates that, in the fight against cancer, highly active NK cell therapy that enables the maintenance of a high level of body’s immunity is very useful when it is used with anticancer agents.