Background: Regulatory T cells (T-regs) have an important role in cancer by suppression of protective antitumor immune responses. Regulatory T cells express the forkhead/winged helix transcription factor (FOXP3) and OX40 molecules which have important regulatory roles in the immune system.
Objective: To evaluate FOXP3 and OX40 transcripts in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of women with breast cancer.
Methods: Blood samples from 40 women with histologically-confirmed infiltrating ductal carcinoma of the breast and 40 healthy volunteer women without a history of malignancy or autoimmune disorders were collected. The abundance of FOXP3 and OX40 gene transcripts were determined by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR).
Results: There was a significant positive correlation between FOXP3 and OX40 gene expression in women with breast cancer in a stage dependent manner.
Conclusion: This finding emphasizes the importance of T-regs as predominant targets for breast cancer immunotherapy.