Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Leukemia. 2003 Oct;17(10):1973-80.

Expansion of natural killer (NK) and natural killer-like T (NKT)-cell populations derived from patients with B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL): a potential source for cellular immunotherapy.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) is the most common leukemia in the Western world. It is currently an incurable disease, making new treatment options such as immunotherapy desirable. Monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) to surface antigens of the tumor cell is one option. Administration of cytotoxic cells such as natural killer (NK) and natural killer-like T (NKT) cells expanded in vitro might be a useful treatment modality alone or in combination with MAbs. A limiting step in the development of successful cellular immunotherapy has been the availability of appropriate cytotoxic cells. Here, we report the feasibility of expanding populations of the human killer cells, CD3-CD56+ NK and CD3+CD56+ NKT cells, from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of B-CLL patients. The influence of tumor B cells on the in vitro expansion of killer cells was assessed by depleting B cells from PBMCs by microbead separation before culture. The 21-day cultures from both B-cell- and non-B-cell-depleted PBMC showed a marked expansion of NK cells, and also of T cells, among which almost half had the NKT phenotype. Depletion of B cells before culture did not change the expansion rates of NK and NKT cells significantly. In patients with progressive B-CLL, NK cell expansion capacity was improved after fludarabine treatment when compared to samples obtained before treatment. Repeated samples of PBMCs from individual untreated patients with both indolent and progressive disease cultured under identical conditions gave similar NK cell expansion rates. Expanded killer cell populations had cytotoxic function against the NK-sensitive target K562 cell line and expressed high levels of Granzyme B. From our studies, we conclude that NK cells as well as NKT cells from the peripheral blood of B-CLL patients can be expanded, and that these cells have cytotoxic capacity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk