Pathology & Oncology Research

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 547–551 | Cite as

Increased CTLA-4 and FOXP3 Transcripts in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells of Patients with Breast Cancer

  • Mansooreh Jaberipour
  • Mojtaba HabibagahiEmail author
  • Ahmad Hosseini
  • Saadat Rezai Habibabad
  • Abdolrasoul Talei
  • Abbas Ghaderi


Generation of Regulatory T cells (Tregs) is known to play a major role in progression and modulation of the immune escape mechanisms in cancer. These cells express Forkhead/winged helix transcription factor (FOXP3) and also Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4), as a negative regulatory molecule which, is a potential target for immunotherapy. We, therefore, evaluated FOXP3 and CTLA-4 transcripts in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 55 women with histologically-confirmed infiltrating ductal carcinoma of the breast. Blood samples from 40 healthy volunteer women without a history of malignancies or autoimmune disorders were also obtained as a control. The abundance of FOXP3 and CTLA-4 gene transcripts was determined by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). Compared to healthy individuals, significantly higher amounts of these transcripts were found in the mononuclear cells from breast cancer patients. Also, a significant correlation was found between CTLA-4 and FOXP3 expressions in a group of patients. Among patients with early stage, nonmetastatic or low-grade disease, the relative expression of CTLA-4 was about 10-fold as much as in the control group. These patients also showed a significant increase, more than 10 fold, in mean relative FOXP3 expression. The results of this investigation point to functional activity of Treg cells in early stages of breast cancer, a finding which emphasizes the significance of Tregs as an imminent target for breast cancer immunotherapy.


Breast cancer CTLA-4 and FOXP3 



Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4


Glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor receptor


Τransforming growth factor- betta


Forkhead/winged helix transcription factor


quantitative real-time PCR



This work was funded by grant no. 87-4330 from Shiraz University of Medical Sciences and by Iranian Cancer Network and Shiraz Institute for Cancer Research (ICR-87-505). We also are grateful to the women with and without breast cancer who participated in this project.


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Copyright information

© Arányi Lajos Foundation 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mansooreh Jaberipour
    • 1
  • Mojtaba Habibagahi
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ahmad Hosseini
    • 1
  • Saadat Rezai Habibabad
    • 2
  • Abdolrasoul Talei
    • 1
    • 3
  • Abbas Ghaderi
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Cancer Gene Therapy Laboratory, Shiraz Institute for Cancer ResearchShiraz University of Medical SciencesShirazIran
  2. 2.Immunotherapy Laboratory, Department of ImmunologyShiraz University of Medical SciencesShirazIran
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryShiraz University of Medical SciencesShirazIran
  4. 4.Department of ImmunologyShiraz University of Medical SciencesShirazIran

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