Objective: To determine if the density of FOXP3+ lymphocytes in primary tumors and lymph nodes in pancreatic cancer correlates with the presence of lymph node metastases.
Methods: FOXP3+ lymphocyte density in primary pancreatic cancer tissue and draining lymph nodes was measured using immunohistochemistry. We analyzed the clinical and pathological aspects associated with the accumulation of FOXP3+ lymphocytes in pancreatic cancer. We also analyzed the correlation of density of FOXP3+ lymphocytes in lymph nodes with the nodal status and distance from the primary tumor.
Results: FOXP3+ lymphocyte density in pancreatic cancer was significantly higher than in paratumoral pancreatic tissue. The density of FOXP3+ lymphocytes in local tumor tissue correlated significantly with the histological grade and overall lymph node status. Furthermore, FOXP3+ lymphocyte density was significantly higher in positive lymph nodes than in negative ones, while it had no correlation with the distance of the lymph node from the primary tumor.
Conclusion: FOXP3+ lymphocyte density in primary tumor tissue in patients with pancreatic cancer correlates with lymph node metastasis. Lymph nodes containing metastases having higher FOXP3+ lymphocyte densities than do negative lymph nodes.