Objectives: Host immunity likely plays a role in preventing progression of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Analysis of host immune cells may provide useful information for assessing prognosis or possibly clinical management.
Methods: Peripheral blood samples from 77 patients with DLBCL and 30 healthy volunteers were analyzed using flow cytometry immunophenotyping. CBC counts, T-cell subsets, and dendritic cells (DCs) were detected, and the results were correlated with clinicopathologic characteristics.
Results: Compared with healthy volunteers, patients with DLBCL had significantly higher leukocyte and monocyte counts (P < .001); higher percentages of neutrophils (P < .001), "natural" regulatory T cells (Tregs; CD3+Foxp3+, P < .001), and immature DCs (CD83-CD1a+, P = .005); and lower percentages of lymphocytes (P < .001) and helper T cells (P = .038). In univariate analysis, high neutrophil counts (≥6,000/μL, P = .014) and "induced" Tregs (CD4+CD25+, P = .026) were poor survival factors along with high International Prognostic Index scores (P < .001) and other high-risk clinical parameters. In multivariate analysis, high Tregs retained significance. Suppression of lymphocytes correlated with poor clinical factors; higher natural Tregs correlated with a lower CD4+/CD8+ ratio (P = .035) and more immature DCs (P = .055).
Conclusions: Changes in blood immune cells occur in patients with DLBCL. The results also support a suppressive role of Tregs in adaptive immunity and correlate with poor-risk prognostic factors.
Keywords: Antitumor immunity; Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; Flow cytometry; Peripheral blood; Regulatory T cells.
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