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T Cells Linked to Skin Cancer After Kidney Transplant

Study suggests high number of regulatory T cells can help predict risk of squamous cell skin cancer

FRIDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Components of the immune system, particularly high numbers of regulatory T cells, predict whether a kidney transplant recipient is likely to develop a type of skin cancer, according to a study published online Jan. 28 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Robert P. Carroll, of the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, U.K., and colleagues examined whether elements of the immune system could be linked to the risk of developing cutaneous squamous cell cancer (SCC) in 110 kidney transplant recipients, where 60 patients had SCC and 50 matched patients did not.

During a median follow-up of 340 days, the researchers found that the risk of developing new cutaneous SCC was higher in patients with high numbers of peripheral FOXP3+, CD4+, CD127low regulatory T cells (hazard ratio, 2.48), low numbers of natural killer cells (hazard ratio, 5.6), and previous SCC (hazard ratio, 1.33). A low ratio of CD8 to FOXP3+ was present in cutaneous SCC from kidney transplant recipients compared with matched SCC from patients not receiving a kidney transplant, and was associated with the development of new cutaneous SCC.

"In summary, monitoring components of the immune system can predict development of cutaneous SCC among kidney transplant recipients," Carroll and colleagues conclude. "If similar immune phenotypes are predictive in other kidney transplant recipient populations, then immune phenotype method has the potential to inform immunosuppressive regimen manipulation in kidney transplant recipients at high risk for developing multiple SCCs."

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