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Br J Cancer. 2003 Nov 3;89(9):1736-42.

Clinical significance of immune cell infiltration within gallbladder cancer.

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Department of Surgical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine, Hokkaido University, Graduate School of Medicine, N-15 W-7, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-8638, Japan.


To investigate the pathophysiological significance of infiltrating antitumour immune cells, we evaluated the quantity of immune cell intratumoral infiltration in 110 surgically resected gallbladder specimens by immunohistochemistry. We examined 45 cases of gallbladder cancer and 65 cases of benign gallbladder diseases for CD4(+) T cells, CD8(+) T cells, natural killer cells (NKCs), and dendritic cells (DCs). High levels of CD4(+) T cell, CD8(+) T cell, NKC, and DC infiltration were recognised in 51.1% (23 out of 45), 37.8% (17 out of 45), 33.3% (15 out of 45), and 48.9% (22 out of 45) of cancer specimens, respectively. High numbers of infiltrating CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells correlated with decreasing tumour invasion, and high numbers of infiltrating DCs correlated with decreasing lymph-node tumour metastasis. Furthermore, increased infiltration of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells and DCs exhibited a significant correlation with prolonged survival. NKC infiltration, however, did not correlate with any of the clinicopathological factors examined. Additionally, high levels of infiltration were not identified in specimens from benign diseases, consistent with the cancer-specific activity of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells and DCs. In this study, we demonstrate that CD4(+) and CD8(+) tumour-infiltrating lymphocyte and DCs, but not NKCs, are important factors in the accurate prognosis of survival after surgical removal of gallbladder adenocarcinoma.

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