Author(s): Gogali F, Paterakis G, Rassidakis GZ, Kaltsas G, Liakou CI,
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Abstract CONTEXT: The immune system seems to play a key role in preventing metastasis and recurrence of thyroid cancer. T regulatory lymphocytes (Tregs) and natural killer (NK) cells play an important role in the dysfunction of the host immune system in cancer patients. OBJECTIVE: We investigated thyroid gland infiltration by Tregs and NK cells in patients with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) and thyroid nodular goiter (TNG). The correlation between the extent of the disease and the lymphocytic infiltration of Tregs and NK cells was examined. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A total of 65 patients with PTC, 25 with TNG, and 50 healthy controls were studied. Blood and tissue samples from 28 patients with PTC and 13 with TNG and blood samples from the healthy controls were analyzed for T4 (CD3(+)CD4(+)), T8 (CD3(+)CD8(+)), NK (CD3(-)CD16(+)CD56(+)), and CD4(+)CD25(+)CD127(-/low) Tregs by flow cytometry (FC). Tissue samples were also analyzed for Foxp3(+) Tregs by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: Tregs showed greater infiltration in thyroid tissue of PTC patients compared with patients with TNG (P < 0.0009 for FC and P < 0.0001 for immunohistochemistry); FC analysis of blood samples showed no difference between the groups. Flow cytometry analysis showed significantly increased NK cells in PTC tissue compared with TNG tissue (P = 0.037), whereas blood samples showed no difference. CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells did not differ in blood and tissue samples. Increased Tregs tissue infiltration was positively correlated with advanced disease stage (P < 0.0026), whereas NK infiltration was negatively correlated (P < 0.0041). CONCLUSION: Tregs and NK cells may be important regulators of thyroid cancer progression.
This article was published in J Clin Endocrinol Metab
and referenced in Journal of Thyroid Disorders & Therapy
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