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J Immunol. 2002 May 1;168(9):4272-6.

Cutting edge: Regulatory T cells from lung cancer patients directly inhibit autologous T cell proliferation.

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Department of Surgery, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Active suppression by T regulatory cells plays an important role in the down-regulation of T cell responses to foreign and self-Ags. Thus far, the potential role of CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells in human tumors has not been reported. In this work we show that lung tumors contain large numbers of these cells and that they have constitutive high-level expression of CD152 (CTLA-4). Furthermore, the CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells mediate potent inhibition of autologous T cell proliferation. Finally, regulatory T cells from patient tumors failed to inhibit the proliferation of allogeneic T cells. Together these results suggest that the CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells found in lung tumors selectively inhibit the host immune response and therefore could contribute to the progression of lung cancer.

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