Increased intratumoral IL-22-producing CD4+ T cells and Th22 cells correlate with gastric cancer progression and predict poor patient survival Academic Article uri icon


  • IL-22-producing CD4(+) T cells (IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells) and Th22 cells (IL-22(+)IL-17(-)IFN-γ(-)CD4(+) T cells) represent newly discovered T-cell subsets, but their nature, regulation, and clinical relevance in gastric cancer (GC) are presently unknown. In our study, the frequency of IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells in tumor tissues from 76 GC patients was significantly higher than that in tumor-draining lymph nodes, non-tumor, and peritumoral tissues. Most intratumoral IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells co-expressed IL-17 and IFN-γ and showed a memory phenotype. Locally enriched IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells positively correlated with increased CD14(+) monocytes and IL-6 and IL-23 detection ex vivo, and in vitro IL-6 and IL-23 induced the polarization of IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells in a dose-dependent manner and the polarized IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells co-expressed of IL-17 and IFN-γ. Moreover, IL-22(+)CD4(+) T-cell subsets (IL-22(+)IL-17(+)CD4(+), IL-22(+)IL-17(-)CD4(+), IL-22(+)IFN-γ(+)CD4(+), IL-22(+)IFN-γ(-)CD4(+), and IL-22(+)IL-17(+)IFN-γ(+)CD4(+) T cells), and Th22 cells were also increased in tumors. Furthermore, higher intratumoral IL-22(+)CD4(+) T-cell percentage and Th22-cell percentage were found in patients with tumor-node-metastasis stage advanced and predicted reduced overall survival. In conclusion, our data indicate that IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells and Th22 cells are likely important in establishing the tumor microenvironment for GC; increased intratumoral IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells and Th22 cells are associated with tumor progression and predict poorer patient survival, suggesting that tumor-infiltrating IL-22(+)CD4(+) T cells and Th22 cells may be suitable therapeutic targets in patients with GC.


  • Zhuang, Yuan
  • Peng, Liu-sheng
  • Zhao, Yong-liang
  • Shi, Yun
  • Mao, Xu-hu
  • Guo, Gang
  • Chen, Weisan
  • Liu, Xiao-fei
  • Zhang, Jin-yu
  • Liu, Tao
  • Luo, Ping
  • Yu, Pei-wu
  • Zou, Quan-ming

publication date

  • November 2012