Effects of oral bromelain administration on the impaired immunocytotoxicity of mononuclear cells from mammary tumor patients.


Eckert K, Grabowska E, Stange R




Oncol Rep


The protease bromelain from pineapple was suggested for adjuvant therapy of malignant diseases. We studied immunological effects of an orally applied bromelain drug on 16 breast cancer patients in comparison with healthy donors. Bromelain was applied for 10 days with a daily dose of 3000 F.I.P. units and the immunocytotoxicity of blood monocytes and lymphocytes against the leukemic K562 and MDA-MB- 231 mammary carcinoma target cells was determined in vitro. In addition, the expression of the cell surface markers CD44, CD16, CD11a and CD62L on lymphocytes and the secretion of IL-2 and IL-1beta from monocytes was measured. Patients leukocytes expressed lower bMAK- , MAK-, NK- and LAK-cell activities, compared with those from healthy donors. Orally applied bromelain increased the reduced bMAK- and MAK- cell activity of patients monocytes about 2-fold. When the patients were classified on the basis of bromelain effects on the monocytic cytotoxicity into bromelain responders and nonresponders, about 40% of the patients responded to bromelain with an increase of cytotoxicity from 7.8% to 54% (bMAK-cell activity) and from 16% to 47% (MAK-cell activity). Bromelain was less effective on the higher cytotoxicity of monocytes from healthy donors, but stimulated the secretion of IL-1beta from monocytes. In contrast, patient monocytes secreted no detectable IL-1beta, before, during and after bromelain treatment. Bromelain had no effects on the impaired patients NK- and LAK-cell activity, but reduced the LAK-cell activity of healthy donors. No IL-2 was found in the supernatants of untreated and treated lymphocytes from healthy donors. Bromelain reduced the expression of CD44, but weakly increased CD11a and CD62L expression on patient lymphocytes, whereas CD16 remained unchanged. In vitro bromelain application to lymphocytes had similar effects, with greater reduction rates of CD44 and CD16 expression. As to coagulation parameters in plasma of healthy donors, the activated partial thromboplastin time was increased from 38 to 46 sec, leaving prothrombin time and plasminogen unchanged. These data suggest, that orally applied bromelain stimulates the deficient monocytic cytotoxicity of mammary tumor patients, which may partially explain its proposed antitumor activity.