Decoding immunogenic cell death from a dendritic cell perspective

PMID: 38093416
Journal: Immunological reviews (volume: 321, issue: 1, Immunol Rev 2024 Jan;321(1):350-370)
Published: 2023-12-13

Janssens S, Rennen S, Agostinis P


Dendritic cells (DCs) are myeloid cells bridging the innate and adaptive immune system. By cross-presenting tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) liberated upon spontaneous or therapy-induced tumor cell death to T cells, DCs occupy a pivotal position in the cancer immunity cycle. Over the last decades, the mechanisms linking cancer cell death to DC maturation, have been the focus of intense research. Growing evidence supports the concept that the mere transfer of TAAs during the process of cell death is insufficient to drive immunogenic DC maturation unless this process is coupled with the release of immunomodulatory signals by dying cancer cells. Malignant cells succumbing to a regulated cell death variant called immunogenic cell death (ICD), foster a proficient interface with DCs, enabling their immunogenic maturation and engagement of adaptive immunity against cancer. This property relies on the ability of ICD to exhibit pathogen-mimicry hallmarks and orchestrate the emission of a spectrum of constitutively present or de novo-induced danger signals, collectively known as damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). In this review, we discuss how DCs perceive and decode danger signals emanating from malignant cells undergoing ICD and provide an outlook of the major signaling and functional consequences of this interaction for DCs and antitumor immunity.