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Freier, Christoph P.; Kuhn, Christina; Endres, Stefan; Mayr, Doris; Friese, Klaus; Jeschke, Udo and Anz, David (2016): FOXP3(+) Cells Recruited by CCL22 into Breast Cancer Correlates with Less Tumor Nodal Infiltration. In: Anticancer Research, Vol. 36, No. 6: pp. 3139-3145

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Background: Regulatory T-cells (Tregs) are a Tcell subpopulation with suppressive capacities, which are specifically attracted by C-C motif chemokine 22 (CCL22). Treg infiltration of tumors is associated with a poor prognosis in many patients. We aimed to investigate whether CCL22 is expressed in human breast cancer and whether its presence is associated with Treg infiltration. Materials and Methods: Eighty paraffin-embedded human breast cancer samples were stained for CCL22 and for the Treg-specific transcription factor forkhead box P3 (FOXP3). Expression was evaluated in a semi-quantitative manner. Results: FOXP3(+) cells infiltrated 50% of the breast tumors. Moreover, Treg infiltrated 93% of the tertiary lymphoid structures. CCL22 expression positively correlated with FOXP3(+) cell infiltration into the tertiary lymphoid structures. Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that CCL22 expression correlates with infiltration by FOXP3(+) cells. Interestingly, Treg presence negatively correlated with positive nodal status. In addition to their unfavorable role as mediators of evasion from antitumor immune response, Tregs might also have a beneficial role by reducing inflammation thereby limiting early tumor growth and spreading.

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