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Hematol Oncol. 2012 Sep;30(3):115-22. doi: 10.1002/hon.1012. Epub 2011 Aug 23.

Repeated transfusions of autologous cytokine-induced killer cells for treatment of haematological malignancies in elderly patients: a pilot clinical trial.

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Department of Geriatric Hematology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, China.


The elderly population is susceptible to haematological malignancies, and these elderly patients are intolerant to cytotoxic drugs. Therefore, the exploration of a safe and reliable strategy exclusive of chemotherapy is critical in improving the prognosis of elderly patients with haematological malignancies. We evaluated the safety and the efficacy of autologous cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells combined with recombinant human interleukin 2 (rhIL-2) in the treatment of haematological malignancies in elderly patients. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated from 20 elderly patients with haematological malignancies, then augmented by priming with interferon gamma, rhIL-2 and CD3 monoclonal antibody. The autologous CIK cells (2-3 × 10(9)) were transfused back to patients, followed by a subcutaneous injection of IL-2 (1 mU/day) for 10 consecutive days. The regimen was repeated every 4 weeks. The host cellular immune function, tumour-related biological parameters, imaging characteristics, disease condition, quality of life and survival time were assessed. Fourteen patients received 8 cycles of transfusion and 6 received 4 cycles. No adverse effects were observed. The percentages of CD3(+), CD3(+) CD8(+) and CD3(+) CD56(+) cells were significantly increased (p < 0.05), and the levels of serum β2 microglobulin and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) were markedly decreased (p < 0.05) after autologous CIK cell transfusion. Cancer-related symptoms were profoundly alleviated, as demonstrated by the improved quality of life (p < 0.01). Complete remission was observed in 11 patients, persistent partial remission in 7 patients and stable disease in 2 patients. At the end of follow-up, the mean survival time was 20 months. Transfusion with autologous CIK cells plus rhIL-2 treatment is safe and effective for treating haematological malignancies in elderly patients.

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