Background: The signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT-3) is frequently overexpressed in cancer cells, propagates tumorigenesis, and is a key regulator of immune suppression in cancer patients. The presence of phosphorylated STAT-3 (p-STAT-3) in the tumor can induce p-STAT-3 in tumor-associated immune cells that can return to the circulatory system. We hypothesized that the number of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) displaying p-STAT-3 would be increased in glioma patients, which would correlate with the extent of tumor-expressed p-STAT-3, and that higher p-STAT-3 levels in peripheral blood would correlate with a higher fraction of immune-suppressive regulatory T cells (Tregs). Methods: We measured the percentage of PBMCs displaying p-STAT-3 in 19 healthy donors and 45 patients with primary brain tumors. The level of p-STAT-3 in tumor tissue was determined by immunohistochemistry. The degree of immune suppression was determined based on the fraction of Tregs in the CD4 compartment. Results: Healthy donors had 4.8 ± 3.6% of PBMCs that expressed p-STAT-3, while the mean proportion of PBMCs displaying p-STAT-3 in patients with GBM was 11.8 ± 13.5% (P = 0.03). We did not observe a correlation by Spearman correlation between the degree of p-STAT-3 levels in the tumor and the percent of PBMCs displaying p-STAT-3. Furthermore, the percent of PBMCs displaying p-STAT-3 in glioma patients was not directly correlated with the fraction of Tregs in the CD4 compartment. Conclusion: We conclude that the percent of PBMCs displaying p-STAT-3 may be increased in malignant glioma patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)