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Blood. 1998 Mar 1;91(5):1706-15.

Natural killer cell-mediated eradication of neuroblastoma metastases to bone marrow by targeted interleukin-2 therapy.

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The Scripps Research Institute, Department of Immunology, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Targeted interleukin-2 (IL-2) therapy with a genetically engineered antidisialoganglioside GD2 antibody-IL-2 fusion protein induced a cell-mediated antitumor response that effectively eradicated established bone marrow and liver metastases in a syngeneic model of neuroblastoma. The mechanism involved is exclusively natural killer (NK) cell-dependent, because NK-cell deficiency abrogated the antitumor effect. In contrast, the fusion protein remained completely effective in the T-cell-deficient mice or immunocompetent mice depleted of CD8+ T cells in vivo. A strong stimulation of NK-cell activity was also shown in vitro. Immunohistology of the leukocytic infiltrate of livers from treated mice revealed a strong staining for NK cells but not for CD8+ T cells. The therapeutic effect of the fusion protein was increased when combined with NK-cell-stimulating agents, such as poly I:C or recombinant mouse interferon-gamma. In conclusion, these data show that targeted delivery of cytokines to the tumor microenvironment offers a new strategy to elicit an effective cellular immune response mediated by NK cells against metastatic neuroblastoma. This therapeutic effect may have general clinical implications for the treatment of patients with minimal residual disease who suffer from T-cell suppression after high-dose chemotherapy but are not deficient in NK cells.

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