Head and Neck Cancers Coverage from Every Angle
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Study Sheds Light on Dendritic Cell Subsets in Tonsillar Cancer

By: Melissa E. Fryman, MS
Posted: Friday, June 29, 2018

Dendritic cell–based immunotherapies may be developed in the future to treat head and neck squamous cell tonsillar cancer. Malin Lindstedt, PhD, and colleagues, of Lund University, reported in the journal Scientific Reports that a subset of dendritic cells in malignant tonsillar tissue are distinct immunologically from those found in benign tonsillar tissue.

In this study, four dendritic cell subtypes (CD1c+, CD141+, CD1cCD141 myeloid dendritic cells, and CD123+ plasmacytoid) were isolated from malignant tonsillar tissue and compared with tissue from benign tonsillar tissue. The authors found the percentage of CD123+ cells was lower (27.2 ± 13% vs. 46.2 ± 14.1%) and the percentage of CD1c-CD141- cells was higher (27.4 ± 16.6% vs. 11.7 ± 10.1) in cancerous tonsillar tissue than in benign tissue. In CD1c+ cells, markers of interleukin-10 and T-cell–mediated immune responses were upregulated. In CD141+, CD1cCD141, and CD123+ cells, interferon alpha/beta signaling via the JAK/STAT pathway was upregulated. In addition, a higher degree of transcriptional similarity was seen in dendritic subsets of malignant tissue compared with benign tissue. The authors also validated that cell-surface markers CD206/MRC1 and CD207/Langerin were selectively expressed in CD1c+ cells at a higher level than in the other subtypes examined.

Dendritic cells isolated from biopsied tonsillar cancer lesions and benign tonsils were sorted using flow cytometry, and RNA was extracted and hybridized to microarray. The authors concluded that these expression profiles allow specific targeting of dendritic cell subsets that may be able to mount an immune response within the tumor microenvironment.

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