Immunosuppressive mechanisms of regulatory dendritic cells in cancer

Cancer Microenviron. 2013 Aug;6(2):159-67. doi: 10.1007/s12307-013-0133-3. Epub 2013 Jun 9.


Three major functional subsets of dendritic cells (DCs) have been described in the tumor microenvironment in patients with cancer and tumor-bearing animals: (i) conventional DCs with intact antigen-presenting capabilities, (ii) functionally defective DCs with decreased motility and low ability to uptake, process and present antigens or produce cytokines and (iii) regulatory DCs with high capacity to suppress T cell proliferation, induce differentiation of regulatory T cells or support immune tolerance. Phenotypic characteristics of regulatory DCs (regDCs), as well as the mechanisms of T cell inhibition, vary in different experimental conditions and environments, suggesting high level of their plasticity and probably different origin. Although new data demonstrate that regDCs may play an important role at early stages of tumor development, functional differences and clinical significance of emergence of different myeloid regulatory cells (MDSCs, regDCs, M2 macrophages, N2 neutrophils, mast cells) in cancer remain to be determined.