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Br J Cancer. 2013 Nov 12;109(10):2629-35. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2013.645. Epub 2013 Oct 29.

Intratumoral regulatory T cells upregulate immunosuppressive molecules in head and neck cancer patients.

Author information

1
Department of Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although regulatory T cells (Treg) are highly enriched in human tumours compared with peripheral blood, expression of the immune-checkpoint receptors, immunosuppressive molecules and function of Treg in these two sites remains undefined.

METHODS:

Tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes and peripheral blood lymphocytes were isolated from a cohort of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients. The immunosuppressive phenotypes and function of intratumoral Treg were compared with those of peripheral blood Treg.

RESULTS:

The frequency of immune-checkpoint receptor-positive cells was higher on intratumoral FOXP3(+)CD25(hi) Treg compared with circulating Treg (CTLA-4, P=0.002; TIM-3, P=0.002 and PD-1, P=0.002). Immunosuppressive effector molecules, LAP and ectonucleotidase CD39 were also upregulated on intratumoral FOXP3(+) Treg (P=0.002 and P=0.004, respectively). CTLA-4 and CD39 were co-expressed on the majority of intratumoral FOXP3(+)CD4(+) Treg, suggesting that these molecules have a key role in regulatory functions of these cells in situ. Notably, intratumoral Treg exhibited more potently immunosuppressive activity than circulating Treg.

CONCLUSION:

These results indicate that intratumoral Treg are more immunosuppressive than circulating Treg and CTLA-4 and CD39 expressed can be potential target molecules to inhibit suppressive activities of intratumoral Treg in situ.

PMID:
24169351
PMCID:
PMC3833228
DOI:
10.1038/bjc.2013.645
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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