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Hum Gene Ther. 1999 May 20;10(8):1359-73.

Characterization of genetically altered, interleukin 2-independent natural killer cell lines suitable for adoptive cellular immunotherapy.

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Division of Hematology, Terry Fox Laboratory, BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver, Canada.


NK-92 is a highly cytotoxic natural killer (NK) tumor cell line that possesses properties that make it an excellent candidate for adoptive cellular immunotherapy. However, the cytotoxicity of NK cells is dependent on cytokines such as interleukin 2 (IL-2). Although NK-92 cells maintain cytotoxicity for a time after withdrawal of IL-2, clinical use will probably require prolonged treatment with fully activated cells to eliminate disease effectively. The ability to support cytotoxic cells with exogenously administered IL-2 is limited by associated toxicity. Therefore, we describe the transfection of the IL-2-dependent NK-92 cell line with human IL-2 (hIL-2) cDNA by particle-mediated gene transfer to create two IL-2-independent variants, NK-92MI and NK-92 CI, and describe their characterization and comparison with parental cells. Both variants were shown to contain, express, and synthesize the hIL-2 cDNA. IL-2 synthesis was higher in NK-92MI cells compared with NK-92CI cells, with no expression in parental cells. Functionally, the cytotoxicity of all three cell lines was similar and coincubation with IL-2-independent variants did not affect hematopoietic progenitor cells. NK-92MI and NK-92CI cells were more radiosensitive than NK-92 cells, with proliferation inhibited at lower radiation doses and increased morality and decreased cytotoxicity compared with parental cells. Data presented here show that we have created by particle-mediated gene transfer two IL-2-independent variants of NK-92 that are identical to parental cells in virtually all respects, including high cytotoxic activity. The nonviral transfection of these cells makes them suitable for clinical applications. These IL-2-independent cells should allow prolonged treatment with fully active natural killer cells without the need for exogenous IL-2 support.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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