BACKGROUND - Dendritic cells (DCs) play a major role in cell-mediated immunotherapy. In this approach, DCs are isolated from cancer patients and pulsed with exogenous and specific tumor antigens in vitro, and the antigen-loaded DCs are then transferred to the hosts to enhance the immune response against tumor targets. Clinical observations and animal studies have shown that tumors can elicit immune responses caused by tumor infiltration of T-lymphocytes. Several pilot clinical trials have been recently conducted using this strategy for treating several types of cancers.
OBJECTIVE - To optimize DC-based therapy with emerging molecular imaging techniques.
METHODS - A review of the most current literature on DCs and imaging work.
RESULTS/CONCLUSION - The translational application of DC-based therapy can be supported greatly through molecular imaging. New discoveries on DC migration and behavior in vivo will lead to new advances in the treatment of a broad range of cancers.