Cellular & Molecular Immunology publishes a study demonstrating a mechanism of induction of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in cancer mediated by the action of certain tumor carbohydrates on dendritic cells.
The role of Tregs in cancer development and progression is becoming increasingly important due to their potent ability to suppress antitumor responses. As such, these cells are considered to be one of the major barriers to the efficacy of new cancer immunotherapies. Although Tregs are upregulated in a variety of tumors, the mechanisms of induction are not clear.
The published study investigates these mechanisms using Ehrlich tumor (murine breast cancer) as an experimental model. The results demonstrate the induction of Tregs by specific carbohydrates (Ca10) of tumor origin. These structures are related to heparan sulfate and act indirectly through their interaction with dendritic cells, which transform into tolerogenic cells. Structures homologous to Ca10 are detected in the serum of patients with various tumors, suggesting that they may also be relevant as inducers of Tregs in human cancer.
The study was carried out at the Universidad Complutense, Hospital Clínico San Carlos, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas and INMUNOTEK, Madrid, Spain.