Postoperative Changes in Systemic Immune Tolerance Following Major Oncologic versus Minor Maxillofacial Surgery

Trumet L, Ries J, Sobl P, Ivenz N, Wehrhan F, Lutz R, Kesting MR, Weber M (2023)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2023


Book Volume: 15

Article Number: 3755

Journal Issue: 15

DOI: 10.3390/cancers15153755


Background: There is increasing evidence of the benefits of adjuvant and neoadjuvant immunotherapy in the treatment of solid malignancies like oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). To optimize (neo-)adjuvant treatment, the systemic immunomodulatory effects of tumor surgery itself need to be considered. Currently, there is little evidence on the immunological effects of major surgery, such as free microvascular flap reconstruction. The current study aims to analyze how and to what extent maxillofacial surgery affects systemic parameters of immune tolerance. Methods: A total of 50 peripheral whole blood samples from patients (Group 1 (G1) = extensive OSCC surgery; Group 2 (G2) = free flap reconstruction without persistent malignant disease; Group 3 (G3) = minor maxillofacial surgery) undergoing surgery were included for real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) to examine changes in mRNA expression of the biomarkers IL-6, IL-10, FOXP3, and PD-L1. Blood samples were taken immediately before and after surgery as well as on the second, fourth, and tenth postoperative days. Differences in mRNA expression between groups and time points were calculated using statistical tests, including Mann–Whitney U-test and Pearson correlation analysis. Results: Comparing postoperative expression of G1 and G3, there was a significantly higher PD-L1 expression (p = 0.015) in G1 compared to G3 and a significantly lower IL-6 (p = 0.001) and FOXP3 (p = 0.016) expression. Interestingly, IL-10 expression was higher pre- (0.05) and postoperative (p < 0.001) in G1 compared to G3. Additionally, in G1, there was a significant overexpression of IL-10 post-surgery compared to the preoperative value (p = 0.03) and a downregulated expression of FOXP3 between pre- and 2 d post-surgery (p = 0.04). Furthermore, there was a significant correlation between the duration of surgery and the perioperative expression changes of the analyzed biomarkers. As the duration of surgery increased, the expression of IL-10 and PD-L1 increased, and the expression of IL-6 and FOXP3 decreased. Conclusion: Extensive surgery in OSCC patients is associated with a transient shift toward postoperative systemic immune tolerance compared with patients undergoing minor surgery. However, even extensive surgery causes no signs of long-lasting systemic immunosuppression. The degree of immune tolerance that occurred was associated with the duration of surgery. This supports efforts to minimize the duration of surgery.

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Trumet, L., Ries, J., Sobl, P., Ivenz, N., Wehrhan, F., Lutz, R.,... Weber, M. (2023). Postoperative Changes in Systemic Immune Tolerance Following Major Oncologic versus Minor Maxillofacial Surgery. Cancers, 15(15).


Trumet, Leah, et al. "Postoperative Changes in Systemic Immune Tolerance Following Major Oncologic versus Minor Maxillofacial Surgery." Cancers 15.15 (2023).

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