The Conventional Dendritic Cell 1 Subset Primes CD8+ T Cells and Traffics Tumor Antigen to Drive Antitumor Immunity in the Brain

Cancer Immunol Res. 2023 Jan 3;11(1):20-37. doi: 10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-22-0098.


The central nervous system (CNS) antigen-presenting cell (APC) that primes antitumor CD8+ T-cell responses remains undefined. Elsewhere in the body, the conventional dendritic cell 1 (cDC1) performs this role. However, steady-state brain parenchyma cDC1 are extremely rare; cDCs localize to the choroid plexus and dura. Thus, whether the cDC1 play a function in presenting antigen derived from parenchymal sources in the tumor setting remains unknown. Using preclinical glioblastoma (GBM) models and cDC1-deficient mice, we explored the presently unknown role of cDC1 in CNS antitumor immunity. We determined that, in addition to infiltrating the brain tumor parenchyma itself, cDC1 prime neoantigen-specific CD8+ T cells against brain tumors and mediate checkpoint blockade-induced survival benefit. We observed that cDC, including cDC1, isolated from the tumor, the dura, and the CNS-draining cervical lymph nodes harbored a traceable fluorescent tumor antigen. In patient samples, we observed several APC subsets (including the CD141+ cDC1 equivalent) infiltrating glioblastomas, meningiomas, and dura. In these same APC subsets, we identified a tumor-specific fluorescent metabolite of 5-aminolevulinic acid, which fluorescently labeled tumor cells during fluorescence-guided GBM resection. Together, these data elucidate the specialized behavior of cDC1 and suggest that cDC1 play a significant role in CNS antitumor immunity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Brain
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Dendritic Cells*
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms*


  • Antigens, Neoplasm