ABSTRACT: Dendritic cells (DCs) comprise a heterogeneous population of cells that play a key role in initiating, directing and regulating adaptive immune responses, including those critically involved in tumor immunosurveillance. As a riposte to the central role of DCs in the generation of antitumor immune responses, tumors have developed various mechanisms which impair the immunostimulatory functions of DCs or even instruct them to actively contribute to tumor growth and progression. In the first part of this review we discuss general aspects of DC biology, including their origin, subtypes, immature and mature states, and functional plasticity which ensures a delicate balance between active immune response and immune tolerance. In the second part of the review we discuss the complex interactions between DCs and the tumor microenvironment, and point out the challenges faced by DCs during the recognition of tumor Ags. We also discuss the role of DCs in tumor angiogenesis and vasculogenesis.
Innate Immunity 06/2012; · 4.00 Impact Factor