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J Dermatol Sci. 2016 Jul;83(1):3-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jdermsci.2016.05.008. Epub 2016 May 13.

Plasmacytoid dendritic cell role in cutaneous malignancies.

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Dermatology Department, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Lebanon.
Dermatology Department, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Lebanon. Electronic address:


Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) correspond to a specialized dendritic cell population that exhibit plasma cell morphology, express CD4, CD123, HLA-DR, blood-derived dendritic cell antigen-2 (BDCA-2), and Toll-like receptor (TLR)7 and TLR9 within endosomal compartments. Through their production of type I interferons (IFNs) and other pro-inflammatory cytokines, pDCs provide anti-viral resistance and link the innate and adaptive immunity by controlling the function of myeloid DCs, lymphocytes, and natural killer (NK) cells. While lacking from normal skin, pDCs are usually recruited to the skin in several cutaneous pathologies where they appear to be involved in the pathogenesis of several infectious, inflammatory/autoimmune, and neoplastic entities. Among the latter group, pDCs have the potential to induce anti-tumour immunity; however, the complex interaction of pDCs with tumor cells and their micro-environment appears to contribute to immunologic tolerance. In this review, we aim at highlighting the role played by pDCs in cutaneous malignancies with special emphasis on the underlying mechanisms.


Basal cell carcinoma; Imiquimod; Interferon; Melanoma; Plasmacytoid dendritic cells; Skin cancer; Squamous cell carcinoma

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