Immunology letters

Human regional lymph nodes draining cancer exhibit a profound dendritic cell depletion as comparing to those from patients without malignancies.

PMID 12413731


Dendritic cells (DCs) are bone-marrow derived 'professional' antigen presenting cells (APC). They are considered as the most potent APC able to induce primary immune responses. DC efficiently capture and process proteic and non-proteic antigens. They are widely distributed throughout the body and occupy sentinel positions such as epithelia. Establishment of an immune response against cancer may depend of the capacity of DCs to transfer (to capture, to process and to present) tumor antigens into regional lymph nodes where they can induce a specific response leading to tumor rejection. Because host 'professional' DCs are one of the most important elements in the induction of specific anti-tumor responses and lymph nodes are the places where the immune response takes place, we investigated the densities of DCs within regional metastasis-free lymph nodes from 47 patients with different malignant epithelial tumors as comparing with lymph nodes from 11 patients without malignancies using an immunohistochemistry method with anti-S100 protein, CD86 and CD1a antibodies. By means of morphometric analysis, we observed that S100+ and CD1a+ DCs densities in regional lymph nodes from cancer patients were significatively decreased as compared with control lymph nodes (P<0.0001 and 0.003, respectively). S100+ DCs and CD86+ DCs densities in lymph nodes draining cancer were similar. Taken together, these data indicated that lymph nodes draining cancer had significantly less CD1a+ DCs than S100+ and possibly CD86+ DCs. These findings may represent another mechanism by which tumors evade the immune recognition.