Mechanistic insights into extracorporeal photochemotherapy: efficient induction of monocyte-to-dendritic cell maturation

Transfus Apher Sci. 2014 Jun;50(3):322-9. doi: 10.1016/j.transci.2013.07.031. Epub 2013 Aug 8.


Extracorporeal photochemotherapy (ECP) is a widely used immunotherapy for cutaneous T cell lymphoma, as well as immunomodulation of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and transplanted organ rejection. ECP's mechanism encompasses large-scale physiologic platelet induction of dendritic cells (DCs). The normal bidirectional immunologic talents of DCs likely contribute heavily to ECP's capacity to immunize against tumor antigens, while also suppressing transplant immunopathology. Our understanding of how ECP physiologically induces monocyte-to-DC maturation can enhance the treatment's potency, potentially broaden its use to other cancers and autoimmune disorders and tailor its application to individual patients' diseases. ECP's next decade is filled with promise.

Keywords: Antigen-presenting cells; Cancer; Dendritic cells; Photopheresis; Tolerance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / pathology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / pathology
  • Graft Rejection / immunology
  • Graft Rejection / pathology
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control
  • Graft vs Host Disease / immunology
  • Graft vs Host Disease / pathology
  • Graft vs Host Disease / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunization / methods
  • Immunomodulation
  • Monocytes / immunology*
  • Monocytes / pathology
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Organ Transplantation
  • Photopheresis / methods*
  • Transplantation Immunology


  • Antigens, Neoplasm