Adjuvant activity mediated by iNKT cells

Semin Immunol. 2010 Apr;22(2):97-102. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2009.10.002. Epub 2009 Nov 24.


Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells have adjuvant activity due to their ability to produce large amounts of IFN-gamma, which activates other cells in innate and acquired systems, and orchestrates protective immunity. Based on these adjuvant mechanisms, we developed iNKT cell-targeted adjuvant therapy and carried out a phase I/IIa trial on advanced lung cancer patients. The patient group with increased numbers of IFN-gamma-producing cells showed prolonged survival with a median survival time of 31.9 months. Sixty percent of the patients in this group survived for more than 2 years with only a primary treatment and without tumor progression and metastasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Animals
  • Cancer Vaccines*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Galactosylceramides / immunology
  • Galactosylceramides / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / immunology
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Natural Killer T-Cells / immunology*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Galactosylceramides
  • alpha-galactosylceramide
  • Interferon-gamma