Dendritic cells (DCs) are antigen-presenting cells specialized for the induction of the primary T-cell response. Tumor immunotherapy using DCs loaded with tumor antigens is under way for patients with several types of advanced malignancies. In this study, DC-like cells (Mo-DCs) were generated from peripheral blood monocytes with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and interleukin-4. The antigen-presenting abilities, including capture of apoptotic tumor cells, IL-12 secretion, expression of antigen-presentation-related molecules (HLA-ABC, HLA-DR, and CD80), and mixed leukocyte reaction, of Mo-DCs from 37 patients with advanced cancer (pMo-DCs) were compared to those of 20 healthy volunteers (hMo-DCs). Seven days after the initial culture, no significant difference was found in either the number or the size of Mo-DC-forming colonies between the two groups. However, most of the antigen-presenting abilities of pMo-DCs were weaker than those of hMo-DCs on day 7. On day 14, both number and size of colonies were significantly decreased in pMo-DCs but not in hMo-DCs. Interestingly, the antigen-presenting abilities of the remaining pMo-DCs gradually strengthened with time and by day 14 no significant difference was observed between pMo-DCs and hMo-DCs. These results indicate that pMo-DCs contain dysfunctional and short-lived Mo-DC subsets.
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