Production of immunosuppressive factors is one of the mechanisms by which tumors evade immunosurveillance. Soluble factors hampering dendritic cell (DC) development have recently been identified in culture supernatants derived from tumor cell lines. In this study, we investigated the presence of such factors in 24-h culture supernatants from freshly excised solid human tumors (colon, breast, renal cell carcinoma, and melanoma). While primary tumor-derived supernatant (TDSN) profoundly hampered the in vitro DC differentiation from CD14+ plastic-adherent monocytes or CD34+ precursors (based on morphology and CD1a/CD14 phenotype), the effects of tested tumor cell line-derived supernatants were minor. Cyclooxygenase (COX)-1- and COX-2-regulated prostanoids present in the primary TDSN were found to be solely responsible for the observed hampered differentiation of monocyte-derived DC (MoDC). In contrast, both prostanoids and IL-6 were found to contribute to the TDSN-induced inhibition of DC differentiation from CD34+ precursor cells. While the addition of TDSN during differentiation interfered with the ability of CD34-derived DC to stimulate a primary allogeneic T cell response, it actually increased this ability of MoDC. These opposite effects were correlated to different effects of the TDSN on the expression levels of CD86 and HLA-DR on the DC from the different precursor origins. Although TDSN increased the T cell-stimulatory capacity of MoDC, TDSN inhibited the IL-12 production and increased the IL-10 production of MoDC, thus skewing them to a type-2 T cell-inducing phenotype. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that primary tumors negatively impact DC development and function through COX-1 and -2 regulated factors, whereas tumor-derived cell lines may lose this ability upon in vitro propagation.