Circulating activated immune cells as a potential blood biomarkers of non-small cell lung cancer occurrence and progression.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

BMC pulmonary medicine [electronic resource]


washington; isb


BACKGROUND: Treatment for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has greatly improved in recent years. However, noninvasive early screening for carcinogenesis and progression unclear. The aim of this study was to explore the predictive value of peripheral blood immune cells in untreated NSCLC patients.

METHODS: We retrospectively enrolled 305 untreated NSCLC patients and 132 healthy participants from February 2016 to August 2019 in Peking Union Medical College Hospital. Immune cell levels were determined by flow cytometry and routine blood tests.

RESULTS: NSCLC patients had lower levels of T lymphocytes, NK cells, CD8+ T cells, naïve CD4+/CD4+, naïve CD4+ T cells and higher levels of CD4+ T cells, memory CD4+/CD4+ T cells, memory CD4+ T cells, CD4+CD28+/CD4+ T cells, CD4+CD28+ T cells, CD8+CD28+/CD8+ T cells, CD8+HLA-DR+/CD8+ T cells, CD8+HLA-DR+ T cells T cells, CD8+CD38+/CD8+ T cells, CD8+CD38+ T cells and CD4+/CD8+ T cells than those in controls. The percentages of specific lymphocyte subtypes were significantly different in cancer patients versus healthy individuals. For instance, cancer patients had lower levels of B cells, CD4+ T cells, naïve CD4+/CD4+ T cells, naïve CD4+ T cells, CD4+CD28+ T cells, CD8+CD28+ T cells and higher levels of NK cells, white blood cells (WBC), monocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, monocytes to lymphocyte ratio (MLR), neutrophils to lymphocyte ratio (NLR), eosinophil to lymphocyte ratio (ELR), basophil to lymphocyte ratio (BLR), and blood platelet to lymphocyte ratio (PLR).

CONCLUSIONS: Abnormal T cell levels can be used as an independent predictive biomarker for noninvasive early screening in NSCLC occurrence and progression.

Clinical Institute



Institute for Systems Biology


Infectious Diseases