Imbalance in the Th17/Treg and cytokine environment in peripheral blood of patients with adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma

Lei Zhao, Jin Yang, Hui-Ping Wang, Rong-Yu Liu
Medical Oncology 2013, 30 (1): 461
It has been reported that the imbalance of T helper IL-17-producing cells (Th17 cells)/regulatory T cells (Tregs) was closely associated with advanced tumor growth and poor prognosis in lung cancer, but little is known about whether this imbalance is existed in the peripheral blood of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Here, the percentage of Treg and Th17 cells, and the expression of transcription factors RORγt and FoxP3 were studied by flow cytometry, real-time PCR, and Western blotting, respectively. Levels of serum cytokines (IL-6, IL-17, IL-10, and TGF-β1) were analyzed by ELISA. The results showed that there was an increase in the percentage of Tregs, the mRNA and protein expression of FoxP3, the level of Treg-related cytokines in patients with NSCLC while compared to that in healthy patients. Moreover, the percentage of Th17 cells, RORγt mRNA, and protein expression were decreased in peripheral blood of NSCLC patients. In addition, Th17/Treg ratio was decreased in lung cancer patients when compared with healthy patients and Th17/Treg ratio was negatively correlated with the stages. Our results indicate that the Th17/Treg balance is abnormal in peripheral blood, which may be important in the development of NSCLC.

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