Defective levels of both circulating dendritic cells and T-regulatory cells correlate with risk of recurrence in cutaneous melanoma

  • M. Tucci
  • L. S. Stucci
  • F. Mannavola
  • A. Passarelli
  • S. D’Oronzo
  • L. Lospalluti
  • G. Giudice
  • F. Silvestris
Research Article



Immune markers in the peripheral blood of melanoma patients provide useful information for clinical management although there is poor consensus on circulating cells which could putatively reflect the disease activity and play a prognostic role. Here, we investigated both dendritic cells (DCs) and T-regulatory cells (Tregs).


The number of DC subsets as myeloid (m) and plasmacytoid was measured by flowcytometry in 113 melanoma patients in different clinical stages and correlated with the disease activity to evaluate the recurrence free survival (RFS) calculated as difference between baseline and post-surgical values in relation to the criteria for the melanoma staging, as primary tumor removal, sentinel lymph node biopsy and completion of lymph node dissection.


Circulating mDC levels were significantly lower in metastatic melanoma than in other stages and inversely correlated to Treg values while both populations were similarly expressed in inactive disease at stage I-III. Furthermore, the levels of these cells after melanoma removal were apparently related to the disease activity since their persistent defect reflected high risk of recurrence and reduced the RFS.


This work highlighted the role of immune cell measurement for the management of melanoma activity and the identification of patients at potential risk of recurrence based on the mDC ratio.


Melanoma Dendritic cells T-regulatory cells Immune system 



This work was funded by a Grant (#173536) from AIRC (Italian Association for Cancer Research).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors disclose financial conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study was approved by the Local Ethic Committee (protocol 4387/14).

Informed consent

Written consent was obtained from all patients.


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Copyright information

© Federación de Sociedades Españolas de Oncología (FESEO) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Oncology, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Clinical OncologyUniversity of Bari ‘Aldo Moro’BariItaly
  2. 2.Section of Dermatology, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Clinical OncologyUniversity of Bari ‘Aldo Moro’BariItaly
  3. 3.Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Emergency and Organ TransplantationUniversity of Bari ‘Aldo Moro’BariItaly

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