Immunoregulatory T cells in tumor immunity

Curr Opin Immunol. 2004 Apr;16(2):157-62. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2004.01.010.


One mechanism of cancer immune evasion is the suppression of anti-tumor immunity by immunoregulatory T cells. Recent studies of these cells, especially CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells and NKT cells, have revealed molecular and cellular mechanisms of immunosuppression. Mouse studies have shown that either removing immunoregulatory T cells or blocking an immunoregulatory pathway induced by such cells unmasks natural tumor immunosurveillance and improves responses to cancer vaccines. Studies of the corresponding T-cell populations in human cancer patients support a similar role for immunoregulatory T cells in immunosuppression, implying that blocking immunoregulatory T-cell activity might improve the efficacy of tumor vaccines or the immunotherapy of cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmunity
  • CD4 Antigens / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Surveillance
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • CD4 Antigens
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2