Circulating myeloid dendritic cells as prognostic factors in patients with pancreatic cancer who have undergone surgical resection

J Surg Res. 2012 Apr;173(2):299-308. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2010.09.027. Epub 2010 Oct 16.


Objective: Pancreatic cancer is a malignant neoplasm with poor prognosis that might be associated with defective immune function. We aimed to determine the influence on survival of circulating myeloid dendritic cells (c-m-DCs), circulating lymphoid DCs (c-l-DCs), and DCs within the tumor tissue in patients with pancreatic cancer.

Patients and methods: Between December 2001 and June 2006, of a total of 110 patients with ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, 42 underwent pancreatectomy, and 68 had unresectable disease. Numbers of c-m-DCs and c-l-DCs were assessed by flow cytometry, and DCs in the tumor tissue by immunohistochemical staining with anti-fascin mAb.

Results: The percentage of the c-m-DCs subset in pancreatic cancer patients was significantly lower than in healthy volunteers, and the similar finding was observed between patients who underwent surgical resection and non-resection. Patients with a high percentage of c-m-DCs or with many DCs accumulated in the cancer tissue survived longer than patients with a low percentage or low number in peripheral blood or the tumor, respectively. Moreover, there was a positive correlation between c-m-DCs within peripheral blood mononuclear cells and the number of DCs per field in the cancer tissue.

Conclusions: Preoperative c-m-DCs levels in the PBMC of patients with pancreatic cancer and DCs counts in the cancer tissue can be a prognostic factor after surgical resection. Modulating the distribution of DCs may be an effective therapy in pancreatic cancer patients with a dismal prognosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / immunology*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dendritic Cells / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Analysis