Increased Levels of Interleukin-10 in Serum from Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma Correlate with Profound Numerical Deficiencies and Immature Phenotype of Circulating Dendritic Cell Subsets
Clinical Cancer Research
Increased levels of interleukin (IL)-10 have been described as a negative prognostic indicator for survival in patients with various types of cancer. IL-10 exerts tolerogenic and immunosuppressive effects on dendritic cells, which are crucial for the induction of an antitumor immune response. Blood dendritic cell antigen (BDCA)-2 and BDCA-4 are specifically expressed by CD123 bright CD11cplasmacytoid dendritic cells; whereas BDCA-1 and BDCA-3 define 2 distinct subsets of CD11c ؉ myeloid
... c ؉ myeloid dendritic cells. In this study, the T-helper cell (Th)1/Th2 cytokine serum profile of 65 hepatocellular carcinoma patients was assessed. We found that serum levels of IL-10 were substantially increased in hepatocellular carcinoma patients as compared with controls. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy volunteers were exposed to recombinant human (rh)IL-10 in vitro to additionally characterize its impact on distinct blood dendritic cell subsets. A dramatic decrease of all myeloid dendritic cell (MDC) and plasmacytoid dendritic cell (PDC) subsets was detectable after 24 hours of continuous rhIL-10 exposure. Moreover, the expression of HLA-DR, CD80 and CD86, was significantly reduced on rhIL-10-treated dendritic cell subsets. Direct ex vivo flow cytometric analysis of various dendritic cell subpopulations in peripheral blood from hepatocellular carcinoma patients revealed an immature phenotype and a substantial reduction of circulating dendritic cells that was associated with increased IL-10 concentrations in serum and with tumor progression. These findings confirm a predominantly immunosuppressive role of IL-10 for circulating dendritic cells in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and, thus, may indicate novel aspects of tumor immune evasion.