Gallbladder cancer (GBC) is an aggressive malignancy with a poor prognosis. Antigen-presenting dendritic cells (DCs) play a central role in antitumor immunity. DCs expressing CD1a (CD1a-DCs) are considered immature DCs. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical impact of CD1a-DC infiltration into GBC tissue. Seventy-five patients with GBC (excluding non-invasive and intramucosal cancer) were enrolled. Immunohistochemistry for CD1a, S100 and CD8 was performed using representative surgically resected specimens. The cases were divided into a high CD1a-DC group (27 cases, 36%) and low CD1a-DC group (48 cases, 64%) according to the degree of CD1a-DC infiltration/aggregation. The high CD1a-DC group contained fewer patients with distant metastasis (P = 0.039) and more patients given postoperative chemotherapy (P = 0.038). The high CD1a-DC group had significantly longer overall survival (P = 0.001) and disease-specific survival (P = 0.002) than the low CD1a-DC group. In contrast, S100-DC and CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte statuses were without effect on OS or DSS. The results of multivariate analyses indicated that the degree of infiltration/aggregation of CD1a-DCs was an independent prognostic factor associated with a favorable prognosis after surgery.
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