The janus face of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells in cancer and autoimmunity

S. Danese, S. Rutella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Regulatory T cells (Treg) encompass a heterogeneous family of T cells implicated in maintenance of tolerance to self antigens. Treg cells might be qualitatively and/or quantitatively deficient in human autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, graft versus host disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, type I diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. In animal models of autoimmunity, inflasion of ex vivo-expanded Treg cells and/or in vivo enhancement of Treg cell suppressor function by pharmacological agents and cytokines attenuate disease manifestations and restore tolerance. However, Treg cells represent a double-edged sword, as Treg cells with specificity for tumour-associated antigens contribute to cancer pathogenesis and progression. In vivo depletion of Treg cells by monoclonal antibodies and/or selected drugs is an encouraging therapeutic strategy which improves tumour eradication in animal models of cancer. In addition, elimination and/or functional inactivation of Treg cells might boost anti-tumour immunity in tumour-bearing hosts receiving anti-cancer vaccination. The present review discusses Treg cell manipulation as a novel therapeutic strategy in cancer and autoimmunity, conditions characterised by a common regulatory basis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-666
Number of pages18
JournalCurrent Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


  • Autoimmunity
  • Cancer
  • Cytokines
  • Dendritic cell
  • Regulatory T cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'The janus face of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells in cancer and autoimmunity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this