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Sci Rep. 2015 Dec 17;5:18057. doi: 10.1038/srep18057.

Accumulation Mechanisms of CD4(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+) Regulatory T Cells in EBV-associated Gastric Carcinoma.

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Department of Pathology, The Third Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, No. 600 Tianhe Road, Guangzhou 510630, China.


Approximately 10% of gastric carcinomas are associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and are defined as EBV-associated gastric carcinomas (EBVaGCs). EBVaGCs are known to be accompanied by massive CD8(+) cytotoxic T cell (CTL) infiltration; however, adoptive cellular immunotherapy based on EBV-specific CD8(+) CTLs has been explored with limited success. Because regulatory T cells (Tregs) are regarded as a critical hurdle in anti-tumour immunity, we assessed the distribution of Tregs in 45 cases of EBVaGC and 45 cases of EBV-negative gastric carcinoma (EBVnGC) with matched clinicopathological parameters by immunohistochemistry. We showed that Tregs were significantly increased in EBVaGC compared to EBVnGC (15.92 ± 11.45/HPF vs. 8.45 ± 6.16/HPF, p = 0.001). In addition, we explored the accumulation mechanisms of Tregs in EBVaGC by using EBV (+) gastric carcinoma cell lines SNU719 and GT39 as ex vivo models. When peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were co-cultured with EBV (+) gastric carcinoma cell lines, the Treg frequency increased, and they underwent phenotypic and functional changes. The enhanced recruitment by CCL22 produced by EBVaGC cells, the decreased emigration due to CCR7 downregulation on the Treg surface, the higher proliferation rate, and the lower apoptosis rate of Tregs at tumour sites may promote the accumulation of Tregs in EBVaGC.

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