Bladder cancer has an unexplained, high recurrence rate. Causes of recurrence might include the presence of sporadic tumor micro-foci in the residual urothelial tissue after surgery associated with an inverted ratio between intratumoral effector and regulatory T cell subsets. Hence, surgical specimens of both tumors and autologous, macroscopically/histologically free-of-tumor tissues were collected from 28 and 20 patients affected by bladder or renal cancer, respectively. The frequencies of effector (IFN?+ and IL17+ T cells) and regulatory (CD4+CD25hiCD127lo and CD8+CD28-CD127loCD39+ Treg) T cell subpopulations among tumor infiltrating lymphocytes were analyzed by immunofluorescence, while the gene expression of MAGE-A1 and MAGE-A2 tumor-associated antigens was studied by RT-PCR. The results show that both the T cell infiltrate and the frequency of MAGE-A1/A2 gene expression were comparable in tumors and in autologous free-of-tumor tissues in bladder cancer, while the autologous free-of-tumor renal tissues showed reduced T cell infiltrate and frequency of MAGE gene expression as compared to the autologous tumors. Importantly, the intra-tumor T effector/Treg cell ratio was consistently 1 in patients (n. 6) without recurrence (regardless of tumor stage) (P = 0.0006, Odds ratio = 195). These unprecedented findings clarify the pathogenic mechanism of bladder cancer recurrence and suggest that microscopically undetectable micro-foci of tumor may predispose to recurrence when associated with an inverted intratumoral T effector/Treg cell ratio.
- Bladder cancer
- Immune response
- Immunology and microbiology section
- Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes
ASJC Scopus subject areas