IJMS, Vol. 22, Pages 9975: Ex Vivo Expanded and Activated Natural Killer Cells Prolong the Overall Survival of Mice with Glioblastoma-like Cell-Derived Tumors (International Journal of Molecular Sciences)
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the leading malignant intracranial tumor and is associated with a poor prognosis. Highly purified, activated natural killer (NK) cells, designated as genuine induced NK cells (GiNKs), represent a promising immunotherapy for GBM. We evaluated the anti-tumor effect of GiNKs in association with the programmed death 1(PD-1)/PD-ligand 1 (PD-L1) immune checkpoint pathway. We determined the level of PD-1 expression, a receptor known to down-regulate the immune response against malignancy, on GiNKs. PD-L1 expression on glioma cell lines (GBM-like cell line U87MG, and GBM cell line T98G) was also determined. To evaluate the anti-tumor activity of GiNKs in vivo, we used a xenograft model of subcutaneously implanted U87MG cells in immunocompromised NOG mice. The GiNKs expressed very low levels of PD-1. Although PD-L1 was expressed on U87MG and T98G cells, the expression levels were highly variable. Our xenograft model revealed that the retro-orbital administration of GiNKs and interleukin-2 (IL-2) prolonged the survival of NOG mice bearing subcutaneous U87MG-derived tumors. PD-1 blocking antibodies did not have an additive effect with GiNKs for prolonging survival. GiNKs may represent a promising cell-based immunotherapy for patients with GBM and are minimally affected by the PD-1/PD-L1 immune evasion axis in GBM.