Anti-tumor activity of ex vivo expanded cytokine-induced killer cells against human hepatocellular carcinoma

Int Immunopharmacol. 2007 Dec 15;7(13):1793-801. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2007.08.007. Epub 2007 Aug 31.


Cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells are ex vivo expanded T cells with natural killer cell phenotypes and functions. In this study, the anti-tumor activity of CIK cells against hepatocellular carcinoma was evaluated in vitro and in vivo. In the presence of anti-CD3 antibody and IL-2 for 14 days, human peripheral blood mononuclear cell population changed to heterogeneous CIK cell population, which comprised 96% CD3(+), 3% CD3( inverted exclamation mark(c))CD56(+), 32% CD3(+)CD56(+), 11% CD4(+), 75% CD8(+), and 30% CD8(+)CD56(+). CIK cells produced significant amounts of IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha; however, produced only slight amounts of IL-2, IL-4, and IL-5. At an effector-target cell ratio of 30:1, CIK cells destroyed 33% of SNU-354 human hepatocellular carcinoma cells, which was determined by the (51)Cr-release assay. In addition, a dose of 1x10(6) CIK cells per mouse inhibited 60% of SNU-354 tumor growth in irradiated nude mice. This study suggests that CIK cells may be used as an adoptive immunotherapy for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD3 Complex / analysis
  • CD56 Antigen / analysis
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive / methods*
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-2 / pharmacology*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / immunology
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / therapy*
  • Mice


  • CD3 Complex
  • CD56 Antigen
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interferon-gamma