Clinical roles of increased populations of Foxp3+CD4+ T cells in peripheral blood from advanced pancreatic cancer patients

Pancreas. 2006 Nov;33(4):386-90. doi: 10.1097/01.mpa.0000240275.68279.13.


Objectives: Further metastasis should be avoided in pancreatic cancer (PC) patients for effective surgical treatment. Regulatory T cells (Foxp3CD4 T cells including CD4CD25 T cells and CD4CD25 T cells) play important roles in tumor immunity. This study aimed to investigate whether regulatory T cells participate in metastasis.

Methods: Peripheral blood was withdrawn from PC patients, as well as healthy volunteer donors as controls. The peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were subjected to FACScan analysis after labeling with anti-CD4, anti-CD25, and anti-Foxp3 antibodies. Tumor markers, including DUPAN2 and CA19-9, surface markers, such as the CD4/CD8 ratio, and the CD57 cell population were assessed. Clinical stages were classified according to the TNM classification.

Results: The Foxp3CD4 T-cell population among the PBMCs was significantly increased in PC patients (8.10% +/- 4.65%) compared with healthy donors (2.47 +/- 0.78%) (P < 0.001). No significant relationships existed for the tumor markers, CD4/CD8 ratio, and CD57 cells. However, a significant correlation was found between Foxp3CD4 T cells among the PBMCs and the TNM stage (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Foxp3CD4 T cells are good markers for metastasis detection in PC patients and more accurate than other conventional tumor markers, especially at advanced stages of the disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit / analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*


  • FOXP3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit