By stojdllab, Oct 21 2015 04:27PM
Regulatory T cells, or Tregs, are immune cells that are typically considered bad news for cancer patients. That’s because these cells are immunosuppressive, and can prevent the patient’s other immune cells from attacking and clearing their tumour. Essentially, the Tregs are recruited by the tumour to act as a protective shield.
Yet new research from scientists in China suggests that Tregs aren’t always bad. In some cancers, the presence of many Tregs in the tumour can actually correlate with improved survival.
Taken directly from their new paper, the risk graph above shows that patients with cervical, renal, skin, liver, gastric and breast tumours that were densley packed with FoxP3+ Tregs had a significantly shorter overall survival (their ‘risk’, which is numerically considered along the horizontal axis, is greater). Yet increased infiltration of FoxP3+ Tregs was associated with improved overall survival for colorectal, head and neck, and oesophageal cancer patients.
Read the original (open access) article in full here.