, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 2156–2165 | Cite as

Disturbed Th17/Treg Balance in Patients with Non-small Cell Lung Cancer

  • Min-Chao Duan
  • Wei Han
  • Pei-Wen Jin
  • Yu-Ping Wei
  • Qiu Wei
  • Liang-Ming Zhang
  • Jun-Chen Li


The fine balance of T help-17 (Th17)/regulatory T(Treg) cells is crucial for maintenance of immune homeostasis. However, there is little information concerning the role played in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) by Th17/Treg cells. The objective of this study was to investigate the variation of Th17 and Treg cells in the peripheral blood of patients with NSCLC. Blood samples were collected from 19 patients with NSCLC and 19 healthy donors. Samples were processed to detect CD4+IL-17+ Th17 cells and CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ Treg cells by flow cytometry, and related gene expressions were assessed by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The concentrations of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-10, IL-17, IL-23, and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β1) were also measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay analysis (ELISA). The frequency of circulating Th17 cells and Treg cells was increased in samples derived from patients with NSCLC, accompanied by the upregulation of Foxp3 and RORγt. However, a negative correlation between Treg cells and Th17 cells was found in patients with NSCLC. Additionally, the Th17/Treg ratio and the related cytokines were also significantly higher in patients with NSCLC than in healthy controls. Furthermore, the frequency of Th17 cells was positively correlated with IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-23 in patients with NSCLC, and the frequency of Treg cells was positively correlated with TGF-β1 and IL-10. More importantly, the Th17/Treg ratio was positively correlated with the CEA concentrations in patients with NSCLC. Our data indicated that Th17 and Treg subset are involved in the immunopathology of NSCLC. Distinct cytokine environment might play a key role in the differentiation of the Th17 and Treg cells in NSCLC. Reconstituting an adequate balance between Th17 and Treg may be beneficial in the treatment of NSCLC.


Th17 cell treg cell differentiation cytokine imbalance non-small cell lung cancer 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Min-Chao Duan
    • 1
  • Wei Han
    • 1
  • Pei-Wen Jin
    • 1
  • Yu-Ping Wei
    • 1
  • Qiu Wei
    • 2
  • Liang-Ming Zhang
    • 2
  • Jun-Chen Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Respiratory MedicineThe Eighth People’s Hospital of NanningNanningChina
  2. 2.Department of Respiratory MedicineThe First People’s Hospital of NanningNanningChina

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