Krummel said this cell type appears to provide opportunities for prognostic and therapeutic approaches across multiple cancer types.  “So far, this looks promising for treating solid tumors.  Liquid tumors may be different.  Some of the markers may not work,” Dr. Krummel said in an interview with Cancer Therapy Advisor.

“For sure, we think this may applicable in breast, and in lung cancer we have a good signature. With prostate cancer, the value of having a high frequency of the CD103+ genes is similar as for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSC), so highly predictive. This also shows there is going to be diversity among tumor types and individuals and helps us identify those for treatment.” 

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Dr. Krummel and his colleagues have demonstrated that once you deplete the population of the CD103+ dendritic cells  in mice the immune system is unable to control tumors, even when the mice are given immunotherapeutic treatments.

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He said the molecules associated with these cells could be the focus of new immunotherapies that are more precisely targeted than current immunotherapies.  He and his team are working on a PCR and histopathology assay for clinicians that could be used to predict responses to current therapies.

Tomasz M. Beer, MD, conducts immunotherapy clinical trials for prostate cancer at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon, and said these are important new insights that may have significant clinical applications. He said immunotherapy is moving into its second inning of the ballgame. “I think the findings are very interesting scientifically.

A long way from helping patients directly, nevertheless this research demonstrates another direction for immunotherapy development. Immunotherapy is emerging as an exciting frontier in cancer treatment, so it is exciting to see basic science that is likely to expand our repertoire of approaches,” Dr. Beer told Cancer Therapy Advisor.

Oncologist Igor Puzanov, MD, who is an associate professor of medicine (hematology/oncology) at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, Tennessee, agrees with Dr. Beer. He said these new findings also could pave the way for significantly improving clinical trials. In addition, these findings could now be used for re-evaluating previously treated patients.

“Looking at (biopsy) samples from trials already done can strengthen the case for a therapy,” Dr. Puzanov said in an interview with Cancer Therapy Advisor. “What is exciting about this is that they are seeing this in different tumor types.  Molecular characteristics can be treated instead of traditional approaches.  Looking at the signatures of tumors will be very important.”


  1. Broz ML, Binnewies M, Boldajipour B, et al., Dissecting the tumor myeloid compartment reveals rare activating antigen-presenting cells critical for T cell immunity. Cancer Cell. 2014;26(5):638-652.
  2. Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network, Weinstein JN, Collisson EA, et al. The Cancer Genome Atlas Pan-Cancer analysis project. Nat Genet. 2013:45(10);1113-1120.