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Intercell cochannel interference (CCI) mitigation is investigated in the context of cellular systems relying on dense frequency reuse (FR). A distributed base-station (BS)-cooperation-aided soft reception scheme using the probabilistic data association (PDA) algorithm and soft combining (SC) is proposed for the uplink of multiuser multicell MIMO systems. The realistic 19-cell hexagonal cellular model relying on unity FR is considered, where both the BSs and the mobile stations (MSs) are equipped with multiple antennas. Local-cooperation-based message passing is used, instead of a global message passing chain for the sake of reducing the backhaul traffic. The PDA algorithm is employed as a low-complexity solution for producing soft information, which facilitates the employment of SC at the individual BSs to generate the final soft decision metric. Our simulations and analysis demonstrate that, despite its low additional complexity and backhaul traffic, the proposed distributed PDA-aided SC (DPDA-SC) reception scheme significantly outperforms the conventional noncooperative benchmarkers. Furthermore, since only the index of the possible discrete value of the quantized converged soft information has to be exchanged for SC in practice, the proposed DPDA-SC scheme is relatively robust to the quantization errors of the soft information exchanged. As a beneficial result, the backhaul traffic is dramatically reduced at negligible performance degradation.