The effects of cytokine-induced killer cells for the treatment of patients with solid tumors: a clinical retrospective study

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2012 Jun;138(6):1057-62. doi: 10.1007/s00432-012-1179-1. Epub 2012 Mar 4.


Background: Cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells exert high impact on adoptive immunotherapeutic approaches for malignant tumors. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of adjuvant immunotherapy with CIK cells on the prognosis of solid tumor.

Methods: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were collected by a blood cell separator from 40 patients, then expanded by priming them with interferon-gamma followed by monoclonal antibody against CD3 and interleukin-2 the next day. The phenotypic patterns of CIK cells were characterized by flow cytometry on days 0, 7, 10, 14 and 21 of incubation, respectively. Then, 5 ml of venous blood was obtained from 40 patients before and after CIK cells were transfused into patients to assess the influence of CIK cells on the percentages of effector cells.

Results: After 14 days of incubation in vitro, the percentages of CD3(+), CD8(+), CD3(+) and CD56(+) increased significantly (P < 0.05). The clinical symptoms of 40 patients were improved apparently. The 6-month, 1-year and 3-year overall survival rates were 70.0, 60.0 and 57.5%, respectively.

Conclusions: Our results indicated that CIKs immunotherapy can be an effective adjuvant instrument of the routine therapy of malignancy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • CD3 Complex / immunology
  • Cytokine-Induced Killer Cells / immunology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Adoptive / methods*
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology
  • Interleukin-2 / immunology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Phenotype
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • CD3 Complex
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interferon-gamma