Role of dendritic cells in progression and clinical outcome of colon cancer

Int J Colorectal Dis. 2012 Feb;27(2):159-69. doi: 10.1007/s00384-011-1334-1. Epub 2011 Nov 9.


Purpose: The dendritic cells (DCs) are key players in the initiation and regulation of immune responses including antitumor immunity. In the current study, we aimed to elucidate the role of different subtypes of DCs infiltrating the tumor stroma and invasive margin for tumor progression and survival of patients with colon cancer.

Methods: The presence of immature (CD1a- and S100 protein+) and mature (CD83- and HLA-DR+) DCs was evaluated by immunohistochemistry in tissue samples from 145 patients with colon cancer. Patients were dichotomized according to the number of DCs in the tumor stroma and invasive margin, and clinical, histological, and survival data were compared between the two groups of patients.

Results: The number of the mature CD83+ DCs in the tumor stroma and in the invasive margin significantly correlated with the tumor stage: the lower level of infiltration was found in patients that have advanced tumor stage. The frequency of distant metastases was higher in patients who had lower numbers of immature CD1a+ DCs in tumor stroma and of CD83+ DCs in invasive margin. Patients showing a relatively high number of S100+ DCs in the tumor stroma and HLA-DR+ DCs in the invasive margin had a longer overall survival (p < 0.05). Patients with lower CD83+ DCs infiltration in invasive margin had worse prognosis after surgical therapy compared with those with higher CD83+ DCs infiltration (p = 0.0397).

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that the infiltration of colon cancer with DCs is related with tumor progression and patient prognosis, suggesting a central role for DCs in controlling local antitumor immunity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Antigens, CD1 / metabolism
  • Cell Count
  • Colonic Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Disease Progression*
  • Female
  • HLA-DR Antigens / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / metabolism
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / immunology
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prognosis
  • S100 Proteins / metabolism
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, CD1
  • CD1a antigen
  • CD83 antigen
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • S100 Proteins