Background: The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that the use of inhalational anesthesia leads to higher suppression of the cell-mediated immunity compared to total intravenous anesthesia in patients undergoing kidney cancer surgery under combined low thoracic epidural analgesia and general anesthesia. Methods: Patients were randomly allocated to either propofol-based (intravenous anes-thetic) or sevoflurane-based (volatile anesthetic) anesthesia group with 10 patients in each group, along with epidural analgesia in both groups. Amounts of natural killer (NK) cells, total T lymphocytes, and T lymphocyte subpopulations in the blood samples collected from the patients before surgery, at the end of the surgery and postoperative days 1, 3 and 7 were determined by flow cytometric analysis. The NK cell count served as the primary endpoint of the study, whereas the total T lymphocyte count and cell counts for T lympho-cyte subpopulations were used as the secondary endpoint. Results: Our study showed that there were no significant differences in the amount of NK cells, total T lymphocytes, regulatory T cells, and T-helper cells, cytotoxic T lymphocytes, and their subpopulations between the propofol-and sevoflurane-based anesthesia groups when the anesthesia was administered in combination with epidural analgesia. Conclusions: The results of this pilot study did not support the hypothesis that the use of inhalational anesthesia leads to higher suppression of the cell-mediated immunity than that of total intravenous anesthesia in patients undergoing kidney cancer surgery under combined low thoracic epidural analgesia and general anesthesia.
- Epidural analgesia