Transcutaneous acupoint electrical stimulation (TAES) may improve postoperative immune depression in patients with lung cancer, by regulating the balance of T cells and their related cytokines. In a Chinese pilot study, 90 patients with lung cancer underwent TAES (frequency, 2/100 Hz; intensity, 4-12 mA) at bilateral Hegu L.I.-4, Neiguan P-6, Houxi SI-3 and Zhigou SJ-6 for 30 minutes prior to surgical incision, and at 20, 44, 68, 92 and 116 hours following thoracotomy. Following thoracotomy without TAES, down-regulated expression levels of Th1/Th17-associated cytokines and transcription factors, and up-regulated expression levels of Th2-associated cytokines and transcription factors were observed, indicative of immunosuppression. TAES administration was observed to increase the percentage of Th1 and Th17 cells and levels of their associated cytokines and transcription factors, while decreasing the percentage of Th2 cells and their associated cytokines and transcription factors. This suggests that TAES can attenuate postoperative immunosuppression.