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Dendritic cell (DC) function will likely be important for immunological cancer therapies, but our knowledge of the roles of DCs in tumors is limited, in part because most studies were performed before DC subtypes were defined. We studied the distributions of immature epidermal, immature dermal, mature, and plasmacytoid DCs in 63 primary tumors and eight lymph node metastases from oral squamous cell carcinoma patients without evidence of distant metastasis. Immature CD207/Langerin+ and CD209/DC-SIGN+ DCs were present in the primary tumor region, but CD209/DC-SIGN+ cells rarely infiltrated the tumor. Mature DCs were rare, and presence of CD123+ plasmacytoid DCs was associated with poorer outcome. Unexpectedly, migration and maturation of DCs was associated with a worse outcome. Overall, the distribution of DC subtypes indicated that ineffective DC response to tumor is a failure of DC function rather than recruitment, suggesting that a strategy of shifting the balance of secreted factors in the tumor milieu may be more effective in restoring anti-tumor immune function than current methods restoring only one population of DCs to the immunosuppressive tumor region.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancer Lett

Publication Date





145 - 152


Aged, Carcinoma, Squamous Cell, Cell Adhesion Molecules, Dendritic Cells, Female, Humans, Interleukin-3 Receptor alpha Subunit, Lectins, C-Type, Leukocytes, Lymph Nodes, Male, Middle Aged, Mouth Neoplasms, Neoplasm Invasiveness, Neoplasms, Plasmacytoma, Receptors, Cell Surface, Treatment Outcome