Background: T-regulatory cells (Tregs) play an important role in maintaining homeostasis
by attenuating the cytokine response to T-cell receptor (TCR) stimulation and by suppressing the
functioning of neighboring immune cells. In Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection,
Tregs can be either beneficial, by suppressing generalized T-cell activation, or detrimental, by suppressing
protective anti-HIV cell-mediated immunity. An imbalance of Tregs and effector T-cells
can blunt immune responses to malignant cells or facilitate inflammation-mediated pathologies.
Objective: The purpose of our study was to explore the possible correlation between Tregs’ concentration
and HIV infection’s parameters as well as the development of hematological and solid malignancies.
Methods: In a longitudinal prospective study, ex vivo phenotyping of fresh peripheral blood mononuclear
cells from patients with primary HIV infection was performed at baseline. All patients were
then followed up every 3 months and the development of solid or hematological malignancies was
Results: A total of 155 patients were included in the study and the median follow-up period was 64
months. Treg counts were significantly higher among males, patients with high viral load (>350
copies/ml) and patients with virological failure to antiretroviral treatment (ART). Linear regression
analysis showed a significant negative correlation between Treg levels and CD4 (+) T-cell counts.
Patients with neoplasia had lower levels of Tregs while increasing levels showed a negative correlation
with the development of neoplasia.
Conclusion: In our population of HIV-infected patients, high levels of Tregs were associated with
disease progression, and low baseline levels were associated with a higher probability of developing