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Blood. 2006 May 1;107(9):3639-46. Epub 2006 Jan 10.

Intratumoral CD4+CD25+ regulatory T-cell-mediated suppression of infiltrating CD4+ T cells in B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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Division of Hematology and Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


Most non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs) are of B-cell origin, but the tumor tissue can be variably infiltrated with T cells. In the present study, we have identified a subset of CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells with high levels of CTLA-4 and Foxp3 (intratumoral T(reg) cells) that are overrepresented in biopsy specimens of B-cell NHL (median of 17% in lymphoma biopsies, 12% in inflammatory tonsil, and 6% in tumor-free lymph nodes; P = .001). We found that these CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells suppressed the proliferation and cytokine (IFN-gamma and IL-4) production of infiltrating CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells in response to PHA stimulation. PD-1 was found to be constitutively and exclusively expressed on a subset of infiltrating CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells, and B7-H1 could be induced on intratumoral CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells in B-cell NHL. Anti-B7-H1 antibody or PD-1 fusion protein partly restored the proliferation of infiltrating CD4(+)CD25(-) T cells when cocultured with intratumoral T(reg) cells. Finally, we found that CCL22 secreted by lymphoma B cells is involved in the chemotaxis and migration of intratumoral T(reg) cells that express CCR4, but not CCR8. Taken together, our results suggest that T(reg) cells are highly represented in the area of B-cell NHL and that malignant B cells are involved in the recruitment of these cells into the area of lymphoma.

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