Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy

, Volume 59, Issue 6, pp 819–828 | Cite as

Patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma are characterized by increased frequency of suppressive regulatory T cells in the blood and tumor microenvironment

  • Thaís Helena Gasparoto
  • Tatiana Salles de Souza Malaspina
  • Luciana Benevides
  • Edgard Jose Franco de MeloJr
  • Maria Renata Sales Nogueira Costa
  • José Humberto Damante
  • Maura Rosane Valério Ikoma
  • Gustavo Pompermaier Garlet
  • Karen Angélica Cavassani
  • João Santana da Silva
  • Ana Paula CampanelliEmail author
Original Article


Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is a cancerous lesion with high incidence worldwide. The immunoregulatory events leading to OSCC persistence remain to be elucidated. Our hypothesis is that regulatory T cells (Tregs) are important to obstruct antitumor immune responses in patients with OSCC. In the present study, we investigated the frequency, phenotype, and activity of Tregs from blood and lesions of patients with OSCC. Our data showed that >80% of CD4+CD25+ T cells isolated from PBMC and tumor sites express FoxP3. Also, these cells express surface Treg markers, such as GITR, CD45RO, CD69, LAP, CTLA-4, CCR4, and IL-10. Purified CD4+CD25+ T cells exhibited stronger suppressive activity inhibiting allogeneic T-cell proliferation and IFN-γ production when compared with CD4+CD25+ T cells isolated from healthy individuals. Interestingly, approximately 25% of CD4+CD25 T cells of PBMC from patients also expressed FoxP3 and, although these cells weakly suppress allogeneic T cells proliferative response, they inhibited IFN-γ and induced IL-10 and TGF-β secretion in these co-cultures. Thus, our data show that Treg cells are present in OSCC lesions and PBMC, and these cells appear to suppress immune responses both systemically and in the tumor microenvironment.


T regulatory cells OSCC Immunosuppression 



We thank Dr. Cory M. Hogaboam for critical reading of the manuscript. This study was supported by a grant (# 06/04264-9) from The State of São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP). The authors report no conflicts of interest related to this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thaís Helena Gasparoto
    • 1
  • Tatiana Salles de Souza Malaspina
    • 1
  • Luciana Benevides
    • 6
  • Edgard Jose Franco de MeloJr
    • 3
  • Maria Renata Sales Nogueira Costa
    • 3
  • José Humberto Damante
    • 2
  • Maura Rosane Valério Ikoma
    • 4
  • Gustavo Pompermaier Garlet
    • 1
  • Karen Angélica Cavassani
    • 5
  • João Santana da Silva
    • 6
  • Ana Paula Campanelli
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences, Bauru Dental SchoolUniversity of São PauloBauruBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Stomatology, Bauru Dental SchoolUniversity of São PauloBauruBrazil
  3. 3.Lauro de Souza Lima InstituteBauruBrazil
  4. 4.Amaral Carvalho HospitalJaúBrazil
  5. 5.Departament of Pathology, Medical SchoolUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  6. 6.Department of Biochemistry and Immunology, School of Medicine of Ribeirão PretoUniversity of São PauloRibeirao PretoBrazil

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