Exploiting tumor-associated dendritic cell heterogeneity for novel cancer therapies

J Leukoc Biol. 2017 Aug;102(2):317-324. doi: 10.1189/jlb.4MR1116-466R. Epub 2017 Apr 7.


Dendritic cells (DCs) are specialized APCs present in all tissues, including tumors. They play a major role in orchestrating immune responses and were shown to occur in various functional states in tumors. In this respect, immunogenic tumor-associated DCs (TADCs) are required to initiate and sustain T cell-dependent anti-cancer immunity, whereas regulatory TADCs harbor robust immunosuppressive potential and accelerate malignant growth. Importantly, the heterogeneity of the DC compartment in tumors has been dissected recently in murine and human cancers and was shown to consist of developmentally distinct subsets, including conventional DC (cDC)1, cDC2, and monocyte-derived DCs (Mo-DCs). TADCs constitute an essential target in efforts to generate therapeutic immunity against cancer, and the understanding of the complexity of the TADC heterogeneity might prove important for therapeutic interventions targeted at specific TADC subsets or their precursors. Hence, this review addresses the differential functional specializations of ontogenically distinct TADC subsets.

Keywords: DC vaccination; TADC; immunogenic DC; tolerogenic DC.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / immunology*