Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer, and the most rapidly expanding cancer in terms of worldwide incidence. Chemotherapeutic approaches to treat melanoma have been uniformly disappointing. A Brazilian complex homeopathic medication (CHM), used as an immune modulator, has been recommended for patients with depressed immune systems. Previous studies in mice have demonstrated that the CHM activates macrophages, induces an increase in the number of leukocytes and improves the murine response against Sarcoma-180.
Here we studied the interaction of mouse lymph node lymphocytes, co-cultured in vitro with macrophages in the presence or absence of the CHM, with B16F10 melanoma cells.
Lymphocytes co-cultured with macrophages in the presence of the CHM had greater anti-melanoma activity, reducing melanoma cell density and increasing the number of lysed tumor cells. There was also a higher proportion of activated (CD25+) lymphocytes with increased viability. Overall, lymphocytes activated by treatment destroyed growing cancer cells more effectively than control lymphocytes.
Co-culture of macrophages with lymphocytes in the presence of the CHM enhanced the anti-cancer performance of lymphocytes against a very aggressive lineage of melanoma cells. These results suggest that non-toxic therapies using CHMs are a promising alternative approach to the treatment of melanomas. In addition, they are attractive combination-therapy candidates, which may enhance the efficacy of conventional medicines by improving the immune response against tumor cells.