Blood dendritic cells generated with Flt3 ligand and CD40 ligand prime CD8+ T cells efficiently in cancer patients

Ian D. Davis, Qiyuan Chen, Leone Morris, Juliet Quirk, Maureen Stanley, Maria L. Tavarnesi, Phillip Parente, Tina Cavicchiolo, Wendie Hopkins, Heather Jackson, Nektaria Dimopoulos, Tsin Yee Tai, Duncan MacGregor, Judy Browning, Suzanne Svobodová, Dania Caron, Eugene Maraskovsky, Lloyd J. Old, Weisan Chen, Jonathan Cebon

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60 Citations (Scopus)


Flt3 ligand mobilizes dendritic cells (DCs) into blood, allowing generation in vivo of large numbers of DCs for immunotherapy. These immature DCs can be rapidly activated by soluble CD40 ligand (CD40L). We developed a novel overnight method using these cytokines to produce DCs for cancer immunotherapy. Flt3 ligand-mobilized DCs (FLDCs) were isolated, activated with CD40L, loaded with antigenic peptides from influenza matrix protein, hepatitis B core antigen, NY-ESO-1, MAGE-A4, and MAGE-A10, and injected into patients with resected melanoma. Three injections were given at 4-week intervals. Study end points included antigen-specific immune responses (skin reactions to peptides alone or peptide-pulsed FLDCs; circulating T-cell responses), safety, and toxicity. No patient had a measurable tumor. Six patients were entered. FLDCs were obtained, enriched, and cultured under Good Manufacturing Practice grade conditions. Overnight culture with soluble CD40L caused marked up-regulation of activation markers (CD83 and HLA-DR). These FLDCs were functional and able to stimulate antigen-specific T cells in vitro. No significant adverse events were attributable to FLDCs. Peptide-pulsed FLDCs caused strong local skin reactions up to 60 mm diameter with intense perivascular infiltration of T cells, exceeding those seen in our previous peptide-based protocols. Antigen-specific blood T-cell responses were induced, including responses to an antigen for which the patients were naive (hepatitis B core antigen) and MAGE-A10. MAGE-A10-specific T cells with a skewed T-cell receptor repertoire were detected in 1 patient in blood ex vivo and from tumor biopsies. Vaccination with FLDCs pulsed with peptides is safe and primes immune responses to cancer antigens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-511
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Immunotherapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2006


  • Cancer
  • CD40 ligand
  • Dendritic cells
  • Flt3 ligand
  • Peptides
  • Vaccines

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