Background: Dendritic cells are currently under investigation for their ability to generate anti-cancer immune responses. No consensus has been reached as to the optimal method of dendritic cell vaccine preparation and is a barrier to success in the field.
Methods: Over a course of three separate dendritic cell vaccine studies to treat cancer, we tested two different methods for preparing dendritic cells from peripheral blood mononuclear cells: adherence and antibody-selected CD14+ cells.
Results: Surprisingly, we found that patients who received dendritic cell vaccines generated by the adherence method mounted increased T cell proliferation in response to vaccination. This difference could not be accounted for by dendritic cell vaccine dose, cell surface phenotype or dendritic cell function in vitro. One notable difference between the two vaccine preparation methods was that the dendritic cell vaccine cultures generated by the adherence method contained up to 10% lymphocytes, and these lymphocytes were proliferating and producing IFNγ in response to antigen in vitro at the time of administration.
Conclusions: Enhanced immunogenicity of adherence dendritic cell vaccinations may be due to the presence of lymphocytes during dendritic cell culture.