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Clin Immunol. 2009 Dec;133(3):303-13. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2009.08.016. Epub 2009 Sep 20.

Cutaneous T cell lymphoma and graft-versus-host disease: a comparison of in vivo effects of extracorporeal photochemotherapy on Foxp3+ regulatory T cells.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, Children's and Women's Health, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU, Olav Kyrres gt. 17, N-7006 Trondheim, Norway.


Extracorporeal photochemotherapy (ECP) is a well established treatment for both cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL) and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). However, the general effector mechanism is not fully settled. Twenty-four patients with CTCL and 14 patients with GVHD were included to assess the relative numbers of regulatory T cells (Treg) and any change in the serum cytokine profile during 6 months of ECP therapy. The relative amount of Treg cells was twice as high in CTCL compared to GVHD and healthy controls. TGF-beta was on average three times higher in GVHD than in CTCL. Both patient groups had a small but significant increase in TGF-beta after treatment. Our results indicate a strengthened Treg function as a result of ECP. Elevated TGF-beta may indicate high Treg activation in GVHD, whereas an increased number of Treg cells in CTCL could be interpreted as a response that is involved in down-regulating the lymphoma cells.

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