Intratumoural FOXP3-positive regulatory T cells are associated with adverse prognosis in radically resected gastric cancer

Eur J Cancer. 2008 Sep;44(13):1875-82. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2008.05.017. Epub 2008 Jul 9.


We investigated the clinical significance of tumour-infiltrating FOXP3-positive regulatory T cells (Tregs) in radically resected (R0) gastric cancer. From a single-institution database, tumors of 110 patients who underwent R0 resection for stage II-III disease were studied for FOXP3-positive Tregs by immunohistochemistry. The observed median number of FOXP3-positive Tregs was used as the cut-point in analyses (<6 versus >or=6 count). Tregs were significantly higher in gastric carcinomas than in normal tissue (P = 0.0001). Tregs count >or=6 was significantly associated with vascular/lymphatic/perineural invasion (VELIPI) in the tumour (P = 0.03). Multivariate analysis showed association between adverse relapse-free survival and grading 3, stage III, VELIPI and Tregs count >or=6 (P = 0.02). Adverse overall survival was associated with grading 3, stage III, VELIPI and Tregs count >or=6 (P = 0.006). FOXP3-positive Tregs may be a novel marker for identifying high-risk gastric cancer patients. Present findings deserve additional investigation as Tregs may also represent an innovative therapeutic target.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Gastrectomy / mortality
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stomach Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Stomach Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / surgery
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / metabolism*


  • FOXP3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors