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Tryptophan catabolism by indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) plays a key role in tumoral resistance to immune rejection. In humans, constitutive expression of IDO1 has been observed in several tumor types. However, a comprehensive analysis of its expression in normal and tumor tissues is still required to anticipate the risks and potential benefits of IDO1 inhibitors. Using a newly validated monoclonal antibody to human IDO1, we performed an extensive immunohistochemical analysis of IDO1 expression in normal and tumor tissues. In normal tissues, IDO1 was expressed by endothelial cells in the placenta and lung and by epithelial cells in the female genital tract. In lymphoid tissues, IDO1 was expressed in mature dendritic cells with a phenotype (CD83(+), DC-LAMP(+), langerin(-), CD123(-), CD163(-)) distinct from plasmacytoid dendritic cells. Importantly, IDO1-expressing dendritic cells were not enriched in tumor-draining lymph nodes, in contrast with previously reported findings. IDO1-expressing cells were observed in a large fraction (505/866, 58%) of human tumors. They comprised tumor cells, endothelial cells, and stromal cells in proportions that varied depending on the tumor type. Tumors showing the highest proportions of IDO1-immunolabeled samples were carcinomas of the endometrium and cervix, followed by kidney, lung, and colon. This hierarchy of IDO1 expression was confirmed by gene expression data mined from The Cancer Genome Atlas database. Expression of IDO1 may be used to select tumors likely to benefit from targeted therapy with IDO1 inhibitors.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancer Immunol Res

Publication Date





161 - 172


Animals, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Biomarkers, Tumor, Cells, Cultured, Dendritic Cells, Female, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Genitalia, Female, Humans, Indoleamine-Pyrrole 2,3,-Dioxygenase, Lung, Lymph Nodes, Lymphatic Metastasis, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Neoplasm Proteins, Neoplasms, Placenta, Pregnancy, RNA, Messenger