Article Abstract

The tumor-draining lymph nodes are immunosuppressed in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma

Authors: Ze-Yu Shuang, Yi-Ze Mao, Yong-Cheng Liu, Guo-He Lin, Jun-Cheng Wang, Jun Wang, Sheng-Ping Li


Background: Tumor-draining lymph nodes (TDLN) played an important role in initiating immune responses. However, the immune status of TDLN in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) had not been well studied.
Methods: We extracted the immune cells from the TDLN and peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) of 16 HCC patients. Using flow cytometry, we investigated the phenotype, proliferative capacity, cytotoxic activity and PD-1 expression of the cells in the TDLN and PBMC of HCC patients.
Results: The immune status of the TDLN exhibited greater suppression than the PBMC in HCC, exhibiting a higher proportion of Treg cells and lower proportions of NKT, Th17 and Th1 cells. The proportion of Treg cells in TDLN was lower in patients with T1 stage than T2 stage. Moreover, the T cells from TDLN exhibited decreased capacity of proliferation with higher expression of PD-1 compared to PBMC. In addition, the cytotoxic activity of the cells expanded from the TDLN was weaker than the PBMC.
Conclusions: The immune cells from the TDLN presented an immunosuppressed status regarding both the phenotypic characteristics and cellular immune function compared to PBMC.