Phenotypic and functional characterization of monocyte-derived dendritic cells in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia patients: influence of neoplastic CD19+ cells in vivo and in vitro


Enrica Orsini MD, Dipartimento di Biotecnologie Cellulari ed Ematologia, University ‘‘La Sapienza’’, Via Benevento 6, 00161 Rome, Italy.


Dendritic cells (DCs) are the most potent antigen-presenting cells and are therefore an attractive option as antigen carriers in vaccination protocols. Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) represents a potential good target for these approaches. The present study was designed to investigate the feasibility of generating in vitro fully functional DCs from peripheral blood (PB) monocytes of CLL patients at different phases of the disease. Although functional DCs could be obtained from CLL samples, in patients with active disease the expression of some co-stimulatory molecules appeared to be reduced. In contrast, DCs from CLL patients in remission showed no difference from those of normal controls. Moreover, patients with active disease produced DCs with reduced allostimulatory ability when compared with normal ones, whereas the functional capacities appeared to be restored in CLL DCs from remission patients. To more precisely assess the possible inhibitory effect of CLL cells on DC development, the influence of autologous leukaemic CD19+ cells on the generation of monocyte-derived CLL DCs in vitro was investigated. The addition of CLL neoplastic cells markedly affected monocyte-derived DC maturation. In conclusion, monocytes from CLL patients with active disease give rise to DCs, which show phenotypic and functional defects that are not observed in remission CLL patients. These results need to be taken into account in the design of DC-based immunotherapeutic approaches in CLL.