Recent Progress in Dendritic Cell-Based Cancer Immunotherapy

PMID: 34065346
Journal: Cancers (volume: 13, issue: 10, Cancers (Basel) 2021 May;13(10))
Published: 2021-05-20

Matsuo K, Yoshie O, Kitahata K, Kamei M, Hara Y, Nakayama T


Cancer immunotherapy aims to treat cancer by enhancing cancer-specific host immune responses. Recently, cancer immunotherapy has been attracting much attention because of the successful clinical application of immune checkpoint inhibitors targeting the CTLA-4 and PD-1/PD-L1 pathways. However, although highly effective in some patients, immune checkpoint inhibitors are beneficial only in a limited fraction of patients, possibly because of the lack of enough cancer-specific immune cells, especially CD8 cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTLs), in the host. On the other hand, studies on cancer vaccines, especially DC-based ones, have made significant progress in recent years. In particular, the identification and characterization of cross-presenting DCs have greatly advanced the strategy for the development of effective DC-based vaccines. In this review, we first summarize the surface markers and functional properties of the five major DC subsets. We then describe new approaches to induce antigen-specific CTLs by targeted delivery of antigens to cross-presenting DCs. In this context, the chemokine receptor XCR1 and its ligand XCL1, being selectively expressed by cross-presenting DCs and mainly produced by activated CD8 T cells, respectively, provide highly promising molecular tools for this purpose. In the near future, CTL-inducing DC-based cancer vaccines may provide a new breakthrough in cancer immunotherapy alone or in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors.