• CD3;
  • FoxP3;
  • MAC387;
  • Pax5;
  • sarcoma;
  • Spirocerca lupi;
  • T regulatory cells


Spirocerca lupi is a nematode that infects the dog’s oesophagus and promotes the formation of an inflammatory fibroblastic nodule that progresses to sarcoma in approximately 25% of cases. Spirocercosis-associated oesophageal sarcoma is an excellent and under-utilized spontaneous model of parasite-associated malignancy. The inflammatory infiltrate of paraffin-embedded, non-neoplastic oesophageal nodules (n = 46), neoplastic nodules (n = 25) and normal oesophagus (n = 14) was examined by immunohistochemistry using MAC387 (myeloid cells), CD3 (T cells), Pax5 (B cells) and FoxP3 (T regulatory cells) antibodies. Myeloid cells predominated in 70% of nodules, in pockets around the worms’ migratory tracts and in necro-ulcerative areas in neoplastic cases. T cells predominated in 23% of cases with a focal or diffuse distribution, in the nodule periphery. No significant differences were observed between neoplastic and non-neoplastic stages. FoxP3+ cells were observed in low numbers, not significantly different from the controls. The inflammation in spirocercosis is characterized by pockets of pus surrounded by organized lymphoid foci. There was no evidence of a local accumulation of FoxP3+ cells, unlike many previous studies that have reported an increase in FoxP3+ T cells in both malignancies and parasite infections. The triggering factor(s) driving the malignant transformation of the spirocercosis-associated chronic inflammatory nodule warrants further investigation.