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Regulatory T (Treg) cells are a subpopulation of T cells with the ability to control the responses of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. A case-control study was conducted in order to determine the functional attributes of Treg cells within the breast cancer milieu. Triple-color flow cytometry was utilized to study the phenotype expression of CD4+CD25+ Treg cells and CD8+ T cells in autologous tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) derived from 33 patients with stage I-III breast cancer. The prevalence of CD4+CD25+ T cells was significantly higher in TILs than in PBLs. The expressions of FOXP3 and GITR in CD4+CD25+ Treg cells were lower in PBLs than in TILs. Functional studies showed that both granzyme B and perforin were barely expressed in peripheral Treg cells but were highly expressed in Treg cells in the tumor microenvironment. On the contrary, down-regulation of both granzyme B and perforin expressed in the CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes was significantly lower in TILs than in PBLs. Further functional assays demonstrated that Th1 cytokines and cytotoxic molecules were synchronously up-regulated in CD8+ cytotoxic T cells. The in vitro kinetic study showed that adequate activation of TILs derived from breast cancer tissue could restore the appropriate antitumor immune response.
Department of Surgery, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Taipei Branch, Taipei, Taiwan.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Immunologic research
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