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Cancer Res. 2006 Aug 1;66(15):7734-40.

Immunosurveillance of Erbb2 carcinogenesis in transgenic mice is concealed by a dominant regulatory T-cell self-tolerance.

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  • 1Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Ospedale San Luigi Gonsaga, I-10043 Orbassano, Italy.


To assess the role of CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells in overcoming immunosurveillance of Erbb2 (HER-2/neu) mammary lesions, we studied the effects of their sustained removal in BALB/c female mice made transgenic for the rat Erbb2 (r-Erbb2) oncogene (BALB-neuT mice), which develop multiple mammary carcinomas. During the progression of these lesions, Treg cells expand in the spleen, tumor draining lymph nodes, and tumors. Repeated administration of anti-CD25 antibodies extends tumor-free survival, reduces carcinoma multiplicity, and leads to the manifestation of a natural antibody and CTL-mediated reactivity against r-Erbb2. Loss of Foxp3(+) Treg cells during anti-CD25 treatment remarkably caused the disappearance of Gr1(+) immature myeloid cells, suggesting a cross-talk between these two inhibitory immune cell types. Treg cell expansion associated with r-Erbb2 overexpression may be seen as a physiologic response to dampen the immune reaction elicited by local anomalous overexpression of a self-antigen.

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