Behavior of Circulating CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Regulatory T Cells in Colon Cancer Patients Undergoing Surgery

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CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Treg) specialize in suppressing immune responses. In this study, 47 consecutive colon cancer patients were subjected to circulating Treg frequency assessment by flow cytometry before and after cancer resection. Thirty-two healthy subjects served as controls. Circulating Treg frequencies were significantly higher in colon cancer patients with respect to healthy controls. When patients were subgrouped according to Dukes stages, a linear relationship was observed between Dukes stages and Treg frequencies. In radically resected patients, Treg frequencies were shown to have significantly dropped down. Patients with advanced colon cancer were more likely to have significantly higher proportions of circulating Treg frequencies than Dukes A and B patients when compared to healthy subjects. Of note, nonradically resected patients were found to display reductions in—but not normalization of—Treg frequencies. These results suggest that cancer itself may be able to drive Treg recruitment as a strategy of immunoevasion.

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