1. Clinical laboratory, the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangdong Pharmaceutical University, Guangzhou 510080, China
2. Department of Endocrinology, Shenzhen Second People's Hospital, The First Affiliated Hospital of Shenzhen University, Health Science Center of Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518035, People's Republic of China.
3. Clinical laboratory, Guangzhou Military Area Inspection Center, the General Hospital of Guangzhou Military Region, Guangzhou 510010, China
4. Clinical laboratory, the Hospital of Dongguan Renkang, Dongguan 523952, China
5. Institute of Biotherapy, Southern Medical University Guangzhou 510515, China
6. State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine, Department of Clinical Laboratory Medicine, Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou 510060, China
Objective: To assess the clinical utility of the ratio of CD4+CD25+CD127low regulatory T cells (Tregs) in subjects at high risk of HCC, investigate the relationship between the percentage of Tregs and the expression of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and interleukin (IL)-10 in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma before and after treatment.
Methods: Peripheral venous blood was collected from patients with liver cancer before and after treatment. The proportion of CD4+CD25+CD127low Tregs was detected by flow cytometry. The levels of TGF-β1 and IL-10 in serum were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and were compared with healthy subjects as a control group.
Results: The proportion of CD4+CD25+CD127low to CD4+T lymphocytes in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma was significantly higher than that in healthy controls (P<0.01). The proportion of CD4+CD25+CD127lowTregs, whose AUC of ROC curve was 0.917, could effectively separate the HCC patients from the healthy subjects with a diagnostic sensitivity of 90%, specificity of 80%. The proportion of CD4+CD25+CD127low to CD4+T lymphocytes and the levels of TGF-β1 and IL-10 in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma after the operation and chemotherapy were significantly lower than those before treatment (P<0.05).The proportion of CD4+CD25+CD127lowTregs was positively correlated with the concentrations of TGF-β1 and IL-10 before and after treatment of primary liver cancer (P<0.05).
Conclusion: CD4+CD25+CD127lowTregs may be a significant predictor of HCC biopsy outcome and play an inhibitory role on effector T cells by regulating cytokines.
Keywords: CD4+CD25+CD127low regulatory T cells, cytokines, flow cytometry, peripheral blood, primary hepatic carcinoma