Androgen deprivation boosts prostatic infiltration of cytotoxic and regulatory T lymphocytes and has no effect on disease-free survival in prostate cancer patients

Clin Cancer Res. 2011 Mar 15;17(6):1571-81. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-2804. Epub 2010 Dec 15.


Purpose: The value of neoadjuvant hormone therapy (NHT) prior to radical prostatectomy as a means of restraining prostate cancer (PCa) and strengthening its immunotherapy is still uncertain. This article asks whether it subverts immunoregulatory pathways governing tumor microenvironments, and has an impact on patient outcome.

Experimental design: We microdissected epithelium and stroma from cancerous and normal prostate specimens from 126 prostatectomized patients, of whom 76 had received NHT, to detect cytokine/chemokine gene expression levels by real-time reverse transcriptase PCR. Confocal microscopy was used to identify cytokine/chemokine cell sources, and immunostainings to characterize lymphocyte subsets whose prognostic effects were assessed by Kaplan-Meier analyses.

Results: NHT boosted the expression of IL-7 in the stroma and that of IFNγ-inducible protein-10/CXCL10 in the glandular epithelium of normal prostate tissue, and restored the CD8(+) lymphocyte depletion occurring in PCa, whereas it significantly increased the CD4(+) lymphocyte infiltrate. Lymphocytes, mostly with CD8(+) phenotype, expressed the T-cell intracellular antigen-1, granzyme-B, and perforin, typical of cytotoxic-effector T cells. NHT also induced thymus and activation-regulated chemokine/CCL17 production by monocytes/macrophages in the prostate and draining lymph nodes, and increased the number of their Forkhead box P3 (Foxp3)(+)CD25(+)CD127(-) T regulatory (Treg) cells. The χ(2) test disclosed the lack of association (P = 0.27) between NHT and the high intratumoral CD8(+)/Treg ratio indicative of a good prognosis.

Conclusions: Androgen withdrawal regulates cytokine/chemokine gene expression in normal prostate and lymphoid tissues, and this probably favors both CD8(+) and Treg infiltrates, leaves their intratumoral balance unchanged, and thus has no impact on disease-free survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Androgens / metabolism*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Prostatectomy / methods
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / metabolism


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Androgens
  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines