International journal of biological sciences

Circulating and tumor-infiltrating Foxp3⁺ regulatory T cell subset in Chinese patients with extranodal NK/T cell lymphoma.

PMID 21912510


Foxp3⁺ regulatory T lymphocytes (Tregs) usually act as an immune suppressor and correlate with poorer survival in malignancies. This study aims to investigate the distribution and characterization of Foxp3(+) subset in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and tumor tissues from extranodal NK/T cell lymphoma (ENKTL). Our study showed the percentage of Foxp3⁺ subset from PBMC was significantly higher than that of healthy individuals (P<0.001). The Foxp3⁺ subset from PBMCs expressed CD45RO, CTLA4, GITR, CCR7, and had an IL-10(high)IFNγ⁺TGFβ⁺IL-2(low)IL-17(low) cytokine secreting phenotype. Interestingly, the existence of EBV antigen-specific CD8⁺Foxp3⁺ Tregs was discovered in ENKTL. Furthermore, the high density of Foxp3⁺ TILs was associated with improved progression-free survival (PFS) in ENKTL patients (P<0.05). Collectively, our study implicates that EBV antigens could induce antigen-specific CD8⁺Foxp3⁺ Tregs in ENKTL, and Foxp3⁺ TILs is an independent factor for PFS in ENKTL.