IL-10 is associated with tumor malignancy via immune escape. We hypothesized that IL-10 haplotypes categorized by IL-10 promoter polymorphisms at -1082A>G, -819C>T, and -592C>A might influence IL-10 expression and give rise to non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with poor outcomes and relapse. We collected adjacent normal tissues from 385 NSCLC patients to determine IL-10 haplotypes by direct sequencing and polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP). Of the 385 tumors, 241 were available to evaluate IL-10 mRNA expression levels by real-time RT-PCR. The influence of IL-10 haplotypes on overall survival (OS) and relapse free survival (RFS) were determined by Kaplan-Meier and multivariate Cox regression analysis. The results showed that IL-10 mRNA levels were significantly higher in tumors with the non-ATA haplotype than with the ATA haplotype (P = 0.004). Patients with the non-ATA haplotype had shorter OS and RFS periods than did patients with the ATA haplotype. This may be associated with the observation that the number of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes was decreased in the tumors with higher levels of IL-10. Consistently, T cells from the peripheral blood of the patients with non-ATA haplotype were more susceptible to apoptosis and less cytotoxic to tumor cells, compared to those from the patients with ATA haplotype. The results suggest that IL-10 can promote tumor malignancy via promoting T cell apoptosis and tumor cell survival, and IL-10 haplotype evaluated by PCR-RFLP or direct sequencing may be used to predict survival and relapse in resected NSCLC, helping clinicians to make appropriate decisions on treatment of the patients.
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