Antitumor activity of cytokine-induced killer cells in nude mouse xenograft model

Arch Pharm Res. 2009 May;32(5):781-7. doi: 10.1007/s12272-009-1518-1. Epub 2009 May 27.


Malignant glioma is the most common primary brain tumor in adults and the median survival for patients is less than a year. Despite aggressive treatments including surgical resection, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, only modest improvement has been achieved in the survival of patients with glioma. In this study, the antitumor activity of cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells against human glioma cancer was evaluated in vitro and in vivo. Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells were cultured with IL-2-containing medium in anti-CD3 antibody-coated flasks for 5 days, followed by incubation in IL-2-containing medium for 9 days. The number of cells increased more than 200-fold and the viability was >90%. The resulting populations were consisted of 96% CD3(+), 2% CD3(-)CD56(+), 68% CD3(+)CD56(+), 2% CD4(+), <1% CD4(+)CD56(+), 80% CD8(+), and 49% CD8(+)CD56(+). This heterogeneous cell population was called as CIK cells. At an effector-target cell ratio of 30:1, CIK cells destroyed 43% of U-87 MG human glioma cells, as measured by the (51)Cr-release assay. In addition, CIK cells at doses of 0.3, 1, and 3 million cells per mouse inhibited 23%, 40%, and 50% of U-87 MG tumor growth in nude mouse xenograft assays, respectively. This study suggests that CIK cells may be used as an adoptive immunotherapy for glioma cancer patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms / immunology
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • CD3 Complex / analysis
  • CD4 Antigens / analysis
  • CD56 Antigen / analysis
  • CD8 Antigens / analysis
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival
  • Cytokine-Induced Killer Cells / immunology
  • Cytokine-Induced Killer Cells / transplantation*
  • Glioma / immunology
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Glioma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive*
  • Interleukin-2 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Time Factors
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • CD3 Complex
  • CD4 Antigens
  • CD56 Antigen
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Interleukin-2