FOXP3+ regulatory T cells in cutaneous T-cell lymphomas: association with disease stage and survival

Leukemia. 2007 Dec;21(12):2512-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.leu.2404913. Epub 2007 Aug 23.


FOXP3 is a unique marker for CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (Tregs). In solid tumours, high numbers of Tregs are associated with a poor prognosis. Knowledge about the implications of Tregs for the behaviour of haematological malignancies is limited. In this study, skin biopsies from 86 patients with mycosis fungoides (MF) and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) unspecified were analysed for the expression of FOXP3 on tumour cells and tumour-infiltrating Tregs. Labelling of above 10% of the neoplastic cells was seen in one case classified as an aggressive epidermotropic CD8+ cytotoxic CTCL. In the remaining 85 cases, the atypical neoplastic infiltrate was either FOXP3 negative (n=80) or contained only very occasional weakly positive cells (n=5). By contrast, all biopsies showed varying numbers of strongly FOXP3+ tumour-infiltrating Tregs. MF with early or infiltrated plaques had significantly higher numbers of FOXP3+ Tregs than CTCL unspecified or advanced MF with tumours or transformation to large cell lymphoma. An analysis of all patients demonstrated that increasing numbers of FOXP3+ Tregs were associated with improved survival in both MF and CTCL unspecified. In conclusion, our data indicate that the presence of FOXP3+ Tregs in CTCL is associated with disease stage and patient survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Jurkat Cells / chemistry
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / chemistry
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / immunology*
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / pathology
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell, Cutaneous / immunology
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell, Cutaneous / mortality
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell, Cutaneous / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycosis Fungoides / mortality
  • Mycosis Fungoides / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / analysis
  • Skin Neoplasms / immunology
  • Skin Neoplasms / mortality
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Survival Analysis
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / chemistry
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / pathology


  • FOXP3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins