Molecular Markers of Regulatory T Cells in Cancer Immunotherapy with Special Focus on Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) - A Systematic Review

Parham Jabbarzadeh Kaboli, Lingling Zhang, Shixin Xiang, Jing Shen, Mingxing Li, Yueshui Zhao, Xu Wu, Qijie Zhao, Hanyu Zhang, Ling Lin, Jianhua Yin, Yuanlin Wu, Lin Wan, Tao Yi, Xiang Li, Chi Hin Cho, Jing Li*, Zhangang Xiao*, Qinglian Wen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The next-generation immunotherapy can only be effective if researchers have an in-depth understanding of the function and regulation of Treg cells in antitumor immunity combined with the discovery of new immunity targets. This can enhance clinical efficacy of future and novel therapies and reduces any adverse reactions arising from the latter. This review discusses tumor treatment strategies using regulatory T (Treg) cell therapy in a Tumor Microenvironment (TME). It also discusses factors affecting TME instability as well as relevant treatments to prevent future immune disorders. It is prognosticated that PD-1 inhibitors are risky and their adverse effects should be taken into account when they are administered to treat Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), lung adenocarcinoma, and prostate adenocarcinoma. In contrast, Treg molecular markers FoxP3 and CD25 analyzed here have stronger expression in almost all kinds of cancers compared with normal people. However, CD25 inhibitors are more effective compared to FoxP3 inhibitors, especially in combination with TGF-β blockade, in predicting patient survival. According to the data obtained from the Cancer Genome Atlas, we then concentrate on AML immunotherapy and discuss different therapeutic strategies including anti-CD25/IL-2, anti-CTLA-4, anti-IDO, anti-tyrosine kinase receptor, and anti-PI3K therapies and highlight the recent advances and clinical achievements in AML immunotherapy. In order to prognosticate the risk and adverse effects of key target inhibitors (namely against CTLA-4, FoxP3, CD25, and PD-1), we finally analyzed and compared the Cancer Genome Atlas derived from ten common cancers. This review shows that Treg cells are strongly increased in AML and the comparative review of key markers shows that Treg-based immunotherapy is not effective for all kinds of cancer. Therefore, blocking CD25(+)FoxP3(+) Treg cells is suggested in AML more than other kinds of cancer; meanwhile, Treg markers studied in other cancers have also great lessons for AML immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4673-4698
Number of pages26
JournalCurrent Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number28
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • Cancer immunotherapy
  • CD25
  • CTLA-4
  • FoxP3
  • PD-1
  • Regulatory T cells
  • Tumor microenvironment


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