Cutting edge: Regulatory T cells from lung cancer patients directly inhibit autologous T cell proliferation

J Immunol. 2002 May 1;168(9):4272-6. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.168.9.4272.


Active suppression by T regulatory cells plays an important role in the down-regulation of T cell responses to foreign and self-Ags. Thus far, the potential role of CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells in human tumors has not been reported. In this work we show that lung tumors contain large numbers of these cells and that they have constitutive high-level expression of CD152 (CTLA-4). Furthermore, the CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells mediate potent inhibition of autologous T cell proliferation. Finally, regulatory T cells from patient tumors failed to inhibit the proliferation of allogeneic T cells. Together these results suggest that the CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells found in lung tumors selectively inhibit the host immune response and therefore could contribute to the progression of lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abatacept
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation / metabolism
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CTLA-4 Antigen
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / immunology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Immunoconjugates*
  • Lung Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation*
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / immunology*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / analysis
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • CTLA-4 Antigen
  • CTLA4 protein, human
  • Immunoconjugates
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Abatacept