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Dendritic cells (DCs) are considered a very promising arm to activate the immune system in immunotherapeutic strategies against cancer. DCs are the most powerful antigen-presenting cells (APCs), being highly efficient at generating robust immune responses. They are also considered the center of the immune system, since they provide a crucial link between both innate and adaptive immune responses. Thus, DC-based cancer immunotherapy aims to take advantage of these unique characteristics of DCs to better fight cancer. During the last decade, they have been the subject of numerous studies intending to develop immunotherapeutic strategies against cancer through vaccination. For this purpose, it is essential to gain a better insight into DC immunobiology, regulation of innate and adaptive immune systems, and tumor microenvironment, as well as applying the latest advances in science in order to boost their enormous anti-tumor immunotherapeutic potential. In this review, we will hold focus on DC immunobiology (from their origin, location, and special properties and distinct subsets to the innate and adaptive immunity), on the new concept of cancer immunoediting, and on the knowledge given by clinical trials using DC vaccines. Finally, future perspectives for this emerging field are highlighted.


Constantino, Joao;  Gomes, Celia;  Falcao, Amilcar;  Neves, Bruno Miguel;  Cruz, Maria Teresa

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