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Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2007 Jul-Aug;17(4):764-70. Epub 2007 Feb 16.

The role of regulatory T cells in ovarian cancer.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.


Regulatory T cells (T(reg)), also termed suppressor T cells, control self-reactive T cells in the periphery, thereby conferring protection against immunologic self-destruction. While T(reg) are essential for the prevention of autoimmunity, they also inhibit immune responses against tumor antigens. This is corroborated by an increased mortality rate associated with the presence of a high number of intratumoral T(reg). Tumor infiltration by non-T(reg), on the other hand, is predictive for a substantially longer patient survival. These clinical data suggest that ovarian cancer patients can spontaneously mount effective antitumor immune responses that are undermined by T(reg)-mediated tolerization. The present article reviews clinical and experimental findings on T(reg) in ovarian cancer, with special regard to potential therapeutic implications, which may result from the existing evidence.

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