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Exp Hematol. 2011 Apr;39(4):424-433.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.exphem.2011.01.001. Epub 2011 Jan 7.

Cross-priming of CD8(+) T cells in vivo by dendritic cells pulsed with autologous apoptotic leukemic cells in immunotherapy for elderly patients with acute myeloid leukemia.

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Department of Hematology and Oncology, Kyoto University Hospital, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan.



The prognosis for elderly patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remains dismal. To explore the potential of immunotherapy for improving clinical outcomes for these patients, we performed a phase I clinical trial of dendritic cell (DC)-based immunotherapy for elderly patients with AML.


Autologus monocytes were obtained after reducing tumor burden by chemotherapy. Immature DCs induced with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and interleukin-4 were pulsed with autologous apoptotic leukemic cells as antigens. DCs were administered intradermally to four patients five times at 2-week intervals. To facilitate DC migration to lymph nodes, injection sites were pretreated with killed Streptococcus pyogenes OK-432 one day before. DCs were coinjected with OK-432 to induce maturation and interleukin-12 production in vivo.


Antileukemic responses were observed by an interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot assay or a tetramer assay in two of four patients. In a human leukocyte antigen-A∗2402-positive patient, induction of CD8(+) T-cell responses to WT1- and human telomerase reverse transcriptase - derived peptides were observed, indicating cross-priming in vivo. The two patients with antileukemic immunity showed longer periods of disease stabilization than the other two patients.


This study demonstrates the immunogenicity of autologous DCs that cross-present leukemia-associated antigens from autologous apoptotic leukemic cells in vivo in elderly patients with AML.

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