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J Clin Immunol. 2012 Oct;32(5):1071-81. doi: 10.1007/s10875-012-9697-9. Epub 2012 Apr 26.

Accumulation of activated invariant natural killer T cells in the tumor microenvironment after α-galactosylceramide-pulsed antigen presenting cells.

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Department of Immunology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Clinical Research Center, Chiba University Hospital, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba, 260-8670, Japan.



The intravenous administration of α-Galactosylceramide (α-GalCer)-pulsed antigen presenting cells (APCs) is well tolerated and the increased IFN-γ producing cells in the peripheral blood after the treatment appeared to be associated with prolonged survival. An exploratory study protocol was designed with the preoperative administration of α-GalCer-pulsed APCs to clarify the mechanisms of these findings, while especially focusing on the precise tumor site.


Patients with operable advanced lung cancer received an intravenous injection of α-GalCer-pulsed APCs before surgery. The resected lung and tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) as well as peripheral blood mononuclear cells were collected and the invariant NKT (iNKT) cell-specific immune responses were analyzed.


Four patients completed the study protocol. We observed a significant increase in iNKT cell numbers in the TILs and augmented IFN-γ production by the α-GalCer-stimulated TILs.


The administration of α-GalCer-pulsed APCs successfully induced the dramatic infiltration and activation of iNKT cells in the tumor microenvironment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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