Most Popular in:

Physiology

Email This Item! Print This Item!

New Study Shows How Skin Cancer Spreads

Posted: June 15, 2009

page 2 of 2

Under normal circumstances, mature dendritic cells present pathogens to T cells, stimulating the production of an army of T cells specialized to neutralize the threat. Certain kinds of immunoregulatory proteins called cytokines are known to normally increase dendrtic cells’ ability to muster that army. But Lowes and Carucci found that dendritic cells from the squamous cell carcinomas, although appearing mature and ready, could not be boosted with a cytokine cocktail to do much of anything at all.

Similar-looking dendritic cells from healthy skin responded positively to the booster, and dendritic cells from skin bordering the cancer nests fell somewhere in between. The researchers do not yet know why; they’re investigating that now. “First we need to find out what switched the dendritic cells off, then we’ll look at how to turn them on,” Lowes says. “If you can stimulate the right T cell response, you could mount a robust antitumor response,” says Carucci. “If we can do that, we might actually be able to treat so-called inoperable cancers. This could truly have some clinical applications.”

Journal reference: Bluth et al. Myeloid Dendritic Cells from Human Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma Are Poor Stimulators of T-Cell Proliferation. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2009; DOI: 10.1038/jid.2009.96

Adapted from materials provided by Rockefeller University.

ScienceDaily, June 1, 2009