Background: The expression of OX40 (CD134) on activated CD4+ T cells has been associated with favorable cancer patient outcomes. Because of recent reports that sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) may represent an immunosuppressive environment, we investigated the expression of OX40 in SLNs from patients with primary cutaneous melanoma. Methods: Samples of peripheral blood lymphocytes and a section of 71 SLNs from 53 patients with clinically node negative melanoma were purified for CD4+ T cells, stained for OX40, and analyzed by flow cytometry. Results: The mean percentage of OX40 on CD4 T cells in the SLNs versus peripheral blood lymphocytes was related indirectly to the T stage of the primary tumor and was decreased in ulcerated primary tumors and positive sentinel nodes. Conclusions: The expression of OX40 on CD4+ T cells in SLNs draining primary melanomas decreased with more advanced tumor features (higher T stage, ulceration) and nodal involvement, suggesting that such tumors may have an immunosuppressive effect on the SLN microenvironment.
- Immunosuppressive environment
- Sentinel lymph nodes
ASJC Scopus subject areas