The in-vitro generation of dendritic cells from blast cells in acute leukaemia

Br J Haematol. 1998 Dec;103(3):763-71.


Dendritic cells (DC) are potent antigen-presenting cells responsible for the initiation of primary antigen-specific immune responses. In chronic myeloid leukaemia DC have been generated from Ph+ cells and these Ph+ DC are capable of stimulating cytolytic T-cell responses against the parent leukaemia cells. The prevalence of this phenomenon in acute leukaemia (AL) is unknown and we have therefore studied a variety of acute leukaemias to determine their potential for DC development. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 21 cases of AL were cultured in GM-CSF + TNF alpha. Of these cases, 15 were viable in culture and cells with typical DC morphology were observed in 12 of these 15 cases. DC growing in culture expressed either CDla and/or CD83 and were HLA-DR+ CD40+ CD80+ CD86+ typical of mature DC. In 9/12 cases the cultured cells possessed potent antigen-presenting capacity as measured in the allo-MLR. The malignant origin of the cultured DC was confirmed by FISH analysis in two cases (one 5q- and one Ph+ AL) and by persistent aberrant expression of CD19 in two cases of biphenotypic leukaemia. Functional DC may be derived from AL blasts in a significant number of patients and such DC may be capable of inducing leukaemia-specific immune responses with potential for clinically beneficial effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / analysis
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Dendritic Cells / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Leukemia / pathology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte