Progressive changes in composition of lymphocytes in lung tissues from patients with non-small-cell lung cancer

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Immune cell infiltration is a common feature of many human solid tumors. Innate and adaptative immune systems contribute to tumor immunosurveillance. We investigated whether tumors evade immune surveillance by inducing states of tolerance and/or through the inability of some immune subpopulations to effectively penetrate tumor nests. Immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry analysis were used to study the composition and distribution of immune subpopulations in samples of peripheral blood, tumor tissue (TT), adjacent tumor tissue (ATT), distant non-tumor tissue (DNTT), cancer nests, cancer stroma, and invasive margin in 61 non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. A significantly higher percentage of T and B cells and significantly lower percentage of NK cells were detected in TT than in DNTT. Memory T cells (CD4(+)CD45RO(+), CD8(+)CD45RO(+)) and activated T cells (CD8(+)DR(+)) were more prevalent in TT. Alongside this immune activation, the percentage of T cells with immunosuppressive activity was higher in TT than in DNTT. B-cells were practically non-existent in tumor nests and were preferentially located in the invasive margin. The dominant NK cell phenotype in peripheral blood and DNTT was the cytotoxic phenotype (CD56(+)CD16(+)), while the presence of these cells was significantly decreased in ATT and further decreased in TT. Finally, the immunologic response differed between adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma and according to the tumor differentiation grade. These findings on the infiltration of innate and adaptative immune cells into tumors contribute to a more complete picture of the immune reaction in NSCLC.
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immunological response, lung cancer, immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry, lymphocyte subsets, Natural-killer-cells, Regulatory t-cells, Peripheral-blood, Nk cells, Immune cells, Breast-cancer, Expression, Cd39, Foxp3, Tolerance