Biology and clinical observations of regulatory T cells in cancer immunology

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2011;344:61-95. doi: 10.1007/82_2010_50.


This review specifically examines the role of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in cancer in both mice and the clinic. Due to the rapid refinement of the definition of Tregs and their heterogeneity, emphasis is given to research findings over the past three years. For clarity, this review is broadly divided into three short sections that outline the basic biology of Tregs - (1) Treg lineage and development, (2) Treg subsets, and (3) mechanisms of Treg-mediated immune suppression; followed by two more comprehensive sections that cover; (4) clinical observations of Tregs and cancer, and (5) modifications of Treg biology as cancer immunotherapies. The latter two sections discuss the measurement of function and frequency of Treg in model systems and clinical trials and possible ways to interfere with Treg-mediated immune suppression with the focus on recent pre-clinical and clinical findings.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Immunotherapy
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*