The significance of Treg cells in defective tumor immunity
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Regulatory T cells (Treg) enriched in FoxP3+, glucocorticoid-induced TNF receptor+, and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4+ exert a potential to suppress effector T cells in the periphery. These cells exist in markedly higher proportions within tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, peripheral blood lymphocytes, and/or regional lymph node lymphocytes of patients with cancer and their frequencies are suggested to be strongly related to tumor progression and inversely correlated with the efficacy of treatment. Tumor-specific Treg cells require ligand-specific activation and cell-to-cell contact to exert their suppressive activity on tumor-specific effector cells (CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes and CD4+ Th cells), which includes decreased cytotoxity, proliferation, and Th1 cytokine secrection. Depletion or blockade of Treg cells can enhance immune protection from tumor-associated antigens that are expressed as self antigens. Recent studies revealed that lymphoma T cells might adopt a Treg profile as well. Studies assessing the influence of chemotherapy on Treg cells have also been included in this review.
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Agata Kosmaczewska, Department of Experimental Therapy, Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, Weigla 12, 53-114 Wroclaw, Poland