Efficient Treg depletion induces T-cell infiltration and rejection of large tumors

Eur J Immunol. 2010 Dec;40(12):3325-35. doi: 10.1002/eji.201041093.


There are a number of factors that hamper immunotherapy of cancer. For example, tumors exhibit an aberrant vasculature that appears to form a barrier against T-cell infiltration. Another major obstacle is created by Treg. So far, conventional depletion of Treg with anti-CD25 antibodies, which eliminate only 70% of Treg, has failed to significantly reduce the growth of established tumors. Using Foxp3.LuciDTR-4 mice, we show here that 90-95% Treg depletion resulted in complete regression of large established tumors, whereas 70% depletion was ineffective. The extensive Treg depletion induced a number of processes that are critical for tumor rejection, including activation of tumor-specific CD8(+) T cells and enhanced infiltration of these cells into the tumor. The precise mechanism of enhanced infiltration is not known, but normalization of the tumor vasculature is assumed to assist infiltration. Indeed, we observed that 90% Treg depletion caused normalization of the tumor vasculature as indicated by a reduction in leakiness and the number of dilated vessels. These results suggest that for clinical immunotherapy of cancer, it would be desirable to have reagents that allow high-level depletion of Treg, which, in conjunction with treatment modalities such as vaccination, may concomitantly increase T-cell activation and infiltration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage
  • Diphtheria Toxin / administration & dosage
  • Heparin-binding EGF-like Growth Factor
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Lymphocyte Depletion / methods
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / drug effects*
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / pathology
  • Melanoma, Experimental / genetics
  • Melanoma, Experimental / immunology*
  • Melanoma, Experimental / pathology
  • Melanoma, Experimental / therapy
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / drug effects*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / pathology
  • Transgenes / genetics
  • Tumor Burden / drug effects


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Diphtheria Toxin
  • HBEGF protein, human
  • Hbegf protein, mouse
  • Heparin-binding EGF-like Growth Factor
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins