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Ger Med Sci. 2011;9:Doc18. doi: 10.3205/000141. Epub 2011 Aug 4.

Pulsing with blast cell lysate or blast-derived total RNA reverses the dendritic cell-mediated cytotoxic activity of cytokine-induced killer cells against allogeneic acute myelogenous leukemia cells.

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Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik II, Universitätsklinik Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.


Immunotherapeutic strategies may be a treatment option in patients with refractory acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) or, in cases of complete remission after conventional therapy regimens, may help to reduce disease recurrence or delay time to progression. Evidence suggests a key role of dendritic cells (DCs) in cancer immunotherapy due to their capacity to present tumour antigens to effector cells. We generated cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells from healthy donors and examined their responses in vitro in an LDH release assay against three cell lines and allogeneic HLA non-matched blasts from three patients with de novo AML after coincubation with autologous peripheral blood monocyte-derived DCs. Although DCs were unable to enhance CIK cell effects against all three cell lines tested, the cytotoxic activity against the patients' AML cells increased after coculture with mature DCs, which was significant in two of three patients. However, neither prior pulsing of the DCs with blast cell lysates nor with leukemic cell-derived total RNA further enhanced the lytic capacity of the CIK cells. On the contrary, pulsing reduced or even reversed the cytotoxic activity of the effector cells. This decrease of allogeneic cytotoxicity led us to conclude that monocyte-derived DCs may be useful in autologous or allogeneic vaccine strategies for the treatment of AML or in priming donor lymphocytes in vitro, but unfractionated antigens as pulsing agents may have inhibitory effects on T cell efficiency and their employment in immunotherapeutic strategies for AML seems questionable.


AML; blast cell lysate; blast-derived RNA; cytokine-induced killer cells; dendritic cells

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