- Cytotoxic capacity of IL-15-stimulated cytokine-induced killer cells against human acute myeloid leukemia and rhabdomyosarcoma in humanized preclinical mouse models (2012)
- Allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) has become an important treatment modality for patients with high-risk acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and is also under investigation for soft tissue sarcomas. The therapeutic success is still limited by minimal residual disease (MRD) status ultimately leading to patients’ relapse. Adoptive donor lymphocyte infusions based on MRD status using IL-15-expanded cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells may prevent relapse without causing graft-versus-host-disease (GvHD). To generate preclinical data we developed mouse models to study anti-leukemic- and anti-tumor-potential of CIK cells in vivo. Immunodeficient mice (NOD/SCID/IL-2Rγc−, NSG) were injected intravenously with human leukemic cell lines THP-1, SH-2 and with human rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) cell lines RH41 and RH30 at minimal doses required for leukemia or tumor engraftment. Mice transplanted with THP-1 or RH41 cells were randomly assigned for analysis of CIK cell treatment. Organs of mice were analyzed by flow cytometry as well as quantitative polymerase chain reaction for engraftment of malignant cells and CIK cells. Potential of CIK cells to induce GvHD was determined by histological analysis. Tissues of the highest degree of THP-1 cell expansion included bone marrow followed by liver, lung, spleen, peripheral blood (PB), and brain. RH30 and RH41 engraftment mainly took place in liver and lung, but was also detectable in spleen and PB. In spite of delayed CIK cell expansion compared with malignant cells, CIK cells injected at equal amounts were sufficient for significant reduction of RH41 cells, whereas against fast-expanding THP-1 cells 250 times more CIK than THP-1 cells were needed to achieve comparable results. Our preclinical in vivo mouse models showed a reliable 100% engraftment of malignant cells which is essential for analysis of anti-cancer therapy. Furthermore our data demonstrated that IL-15-activated CIK cells have potent cytotoxic capacity against AML and RMS cells without causing GvHD.
- IL-2 stimulated but not unstimulated NK cells induce selective disappearance of peripheral blood cells: concomitant results to a phase I/II study (2011)
- In an ongoing clinical phase I/II study, 16 pediatric patients suffering from high risk leukemia/tumors received highly purified donor natural killer (NK) cell immunotherapy (NK-DLI) at day (+3) +40 and +100 post haploidentical stem cell transplantation. However, literature about the influence of NK-DLI on recipient's immune system is scarce. Here we present concomitant results of a noninvasive in vivo monitoring approach of recipient's peripheral blood (PB) cells after transfer of either unstimulated (NK-DLI(unstim)) or IL-2 (1000 U/ml, 9–14 days) activated NK cells (NK-DLI(IL-2 stim)) along with their ex vivo secreted cytokine/chemokines. We performed phenotypical and functional characterizations of the NK-DLIs, detailed flow cytometric analyses of various PB cells and comprehensive cytokine/chemokine arrays before and after NK-DLI. Patients of both groups were comparable with regard to remission status, immune reconstitution, donor chimerism, KIR mismatching, stem cell and NK-DLI dose. Only after NK-DLI(IL-2 stim) was a rapid, almost complete loss of CD56(bright)CD16(dim/−) immune regulatory and CD56(dim)CD16(+) cytotoxic NK cells, monocytes, dendritic cells and eosinophils from PB circulation seen 10 min after infusion, while neutrophils significantly increased. The reduction of NK cells was due to both, a decrease in patients' own CD69(−) NCR(low)CD62L(+) NK cells as well as to a diminishing of the transferred cells from the NK-DLI(IL-2 stim) with the CD56(bright)CD16(+/−)CD69(+)NCR(high)CD62L(−) phenotype. All cell counts recovered within the next 24 h. Transfer of NK-DLI(IL-2 stim) translated into significantly increased levels of various cytokines/chemokines (i.e. IFN-γ, IL-6, MIP-1β) in patients' PB. Those remained stable for at least 1 h, presumably leading to endothelial activation, leukocyte adhesion and/or extravasation. In contrast, NK-DLI(unstim) did not cause any of the observed effects. In conclusion, we assume that the adoptive transfer of NK-DLI(IL-2 stim) under the influence of ex vivo and in vivo secreted cytokines/chemokines may promote NK cell trafficking and therefore might enhance efficacy of immunotherapy.
- Efficient lysis of rhabdomyosarcoma cells by cytokine-induced killer cells : implications for adoptive immunotherapy after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (2010)
- Background: Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft tissue sarcoma in childhood and has a poor prognosis. Here we assessed the capability of ex vivo expanded cytokine-induced killer cells to lyse both alveolar and embryonic rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines and investigated the mechanisms involved. Design and Methods: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from six healthy donors were used to generate and expand cytokine-induced killer cells. The phenotype and composition of these cells were determined by multiparameter flow cytometry, while their cytotoxic effect against rhabdomyosarcoma cells was evaluated by a europium release assay. Results: Cytokine-induced killer cells efficiently lysed cells from both rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines. Antibody-mediated masking of either NKG2D molecule on cytokine-induced killer cells or its ligands on rhabdomyosarcoma cells (major histocompatibility antigen related chain A and B and UL16 binding protein 2) diminished this effect by 50%, suggesting a major role for the NKG2D molecule in rhabdomyosarcoma cell killing. No effect was observed after blocking CD11a, CD3 or TCRαβ molecules on cytokine-induced killer cells or CD1d on rhabdomyosar-coma cells. Remarkably, cytokine-induced killer cells used tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) to activate caspase-3, as the main caspase responsible for the execution of apoptosis. Accordingly, blocking TRAIL receptors on embryonic rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines significantly reduced the anti-tumor effect of cytokine-induced killer cells. About 50% of T cells within the cytokine-induced killer population had an effector memory phenotype, 20% had a naïve phenotype and approximately 30% of the cells had a central memory phenotype. In addition, cytokine-induced killer cells expressed low levels of activation-induced markers CD69 and CD137 and demonstrated a low alloreactive potential. Conclusions: Our data suggest that cytokine-induced killer cells may be used as a novel adoptive immunotherapy for the treatment of patients with rhabdomyosarcoma after allogeneic stem cell transplantation.