Ex Vivo host response to gastrointestinal cancer cells presented by autologous dendritic cells

A. Galetto, M. Contarini, A. Sapino, P. Cassoni, E. Consalvo, S. Forno, Caterina Pezzi, Vincenzo Barnaba, A. Mussa, L. Matera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Dendritic cells (DCs) capture apoptotic tumors and cross-present their antigens in the MHC class I and class II pathways for recognition by CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes. Here we have tested the ability of fresh surgically resected colon and gastric cancer tumors to specifically activate host T lymphocytes when presented by autologous DCs. Methods. DCs derived from adherent blood mononuclear cells of five patients, after a 7-day culture with GM-CSF and IL-4, were exposed to apoptotic autologous tumor (AAT) or apoptotic autologous peritumor normal (AAN) cells and cultured 24 h with monocyte-conditioned medium to achieve full DC maturation. Tumor-specific response was evaluated as single-cell cytokine release in an enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) and as cytotoxicity in a cold target inhibition 51Cr-release assay. Results. AAT-DCs induced specific IFN-γ by T lymphocytes of two patients (rectal and gastric cancer), whereas in another two patients (rectal and gastric cancer) this response was depressed with a similar tumor-specific pattern and in one patient (rectal cancer) there was no response. Activation of IFN-γ release was accompanied by tumor cytotoxicity and both responses were enhanced by IL-12, indicating the functional integrity of patients' lymphocytes. Conclusion. These data show that T-cell memory against rectal/gastric carcinoma antigens can be triggered by tumor-loaded autologous DCs. However, escape mechanisms may exist among tumors of the same histological origin that can inhibit this host response. A DC-based antitumor immunological monitoring assay with autologous tumor biopsies may allow patients to be screened to determine those who are suitable candidates for immune-based immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-38
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Antitumor lymphocytes
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Cytokines
  • Cytotoxic T lymphocytes
  • Dendritic cells
  • Gastric cancer
  • Gastrointestinal cancer
  • Interferon γ
  • Tumor antigen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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