Lineage Reprogramming of Effector Regulatory T Cells in Cancer

Academic Article


  • Regulatory T-cells (Tregs) are important for maintaining self-tolerance and tissue homeostasis. The functional plasticity of Tregs is a key feature of this lineage, as it allows them to adapt to different microenvironments, adopt transcriptional programs reflective of their environments and tailor their suppressive capacity in a context-dependent fashion. Tregs, particularly effector Tregs (eTregs), are abundant in many types of tumors. However, the functional and transcriptional plasticity of eTregs in tumors remain largely to be explored. Although depletion or inhibition of systemic Tregs can enhance anti-tumor responses, autoimmune sequelae have diminished the enthusiasm for such approaches. A more effective approach should specifically target intratumoral Tregs or subvert local Treg-mediated suppression. This mini-review will discuss the reported mechanisms by which the stability and suppressive function of tumoral Tregs are modulated, with the focus on eTregs and a subset of eTregs, follicular regulatory T (TFR) cells, and how to harness this knowledge for the future development of new effective cancer immunotherapies that selectively target the tumor local response while sparing the systemic side effects.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Dixon ML; Leavenworth JD; Leavenworth JW
  • Volume

  • 12