Enhancement of the Immunostimulatory Functions of Ex Vivo-Generated Dendritic Cells from Early-Stage Colon Cancer Patients by Consecutive Exposure to Low Doses of Sequential-Kinetic-Activated IL-4 and IL-12. A Preliminary Study

Transl Oncol. 2015 Aug;8(4):327-38. doi: 10.1016/j.tranon.2015.06.005.


Dendritic cells (DCs), specialized antigen-presenting cells bridging innate and adaptive immunity, play a crucial role in determining specific immune response to tumors. Because of their potent immunoregulatory capacities, DCs have been exploited in anticancer vaccination, with limited success thus far. This pilot study compared low-dose interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-12 prepared by sequential kinetic activation (SKA) with standard doses of the same recombinant human cytokines on functional activity of ex vivo-generated monocyte-derived (Mo) DCs from colon carcinoma patients and normal subjects. MoDCs were exposed to medium alone, SKA-IL-4 (0.5 fg/ml), or SKA-IL-12 (2 fg/ml), alone or consecutively combined, in parallel with rhIL-4 (50 ng/ml) and rhIL-12 (1 ng/ml). Primary allogeneic one-way mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) was the end point to assess in vitro T-lymphocyte proliferation in response to MoDCs, and secreted IL-12p70 and interferon-γ in MLR supernatants measured by ELISA to assay for T-helper 1-promoting MoDC phenotype. No single agent enhanced the compromised allostimulatory activity of MoDCs from colon cancer patients, unlike healthy donors. However, MoDCs from nonmetastatic colon cancer patients, after sequential exposure to SKA-IL-4 (48 hours) and SKA-IL-12 (24 hours), displayed increased T-cell stimulatory capacity by MLR and acquired driving T-helper 1 polarization activity, although less markedly than the effects induced by recombinant human cytokines or found in normal subjects. These results point to an immunomodulatory capacity of low-dose SKA-IL-4 and SKA-IL-12 and encourage further investigation to provide clues for the rational development of new and more effective immunotherapeutic strategies against cancer.